A three-judge appellate panel on Friday denied a request for an injunction in the Texas 45 Southwest case, clearing the way for construction on the tollway to begin.
“We expected that the stay would be denied,” said Mike Heiligenstein, executive director of the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority, which will build and operate the 3.6-mile, four-lane road connecting the south end of South MoPac Boulevard to FM 1626.
“Our contractor will be on the ground Tuesday with equipment beginning construction,” Heiligenstein said.
A highway in that location has been on local plans since the late 1980s, and was the subject of an earlier lawsuit that was settled in 1992. This time, with the passage of time and a new design, the project was challenged in federal court in February by the Save Our Springs Alliance and 11 other plaintiffs, including two former Austin mayors.
That underlying lawsuit continues for now, with a trial possible in the coming months. But the mobility authority and its contractor by then likely will have cleared much of the right of way of trees and other vegetation.
Ben Wear American-Statesman Staff