HAYS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — The final section of State Highway 45 Southwest will begin the engineering and design phase. It’s a section of roadway that will complete the SH 45 loop that goes around Austin.

The two-lane-per-direction toll road would connect the SH 45 loop at FM 1626 with Interstate 35 in Buda. In a press release, Hays County Commissioner Mark Jones said the project is long overdue.

“Studies show that about 80% of the people who live along the I-35 corridor drive into and home from Austin nearly every day. This connector will help make that commute easier,” Jones said.

Map of the SH 45 Southwest Connector plan
Hays County commissioners hope to break ground on the SH 45 Southwest Connector project in two years.

The commissioner said travel will become easier between the central and eastern parts of Buda, Kyle and Austin.

Someone who knows firsthand the impacts of traffic from FM 1626 is Selena Rosete. She is the president of Pro Tech Construction, a residential remodeling business off of West FM 1626.

“Twin Creeks is more of a residential road so people are cutting through to get to I-35. So it gets extremely backed up,” Rosete said.

She said the new portion of SH 45 would help ease some of that.

“When customers come in, its not going to take them that long to get here,” Rosete said.

Jones said they are in the design phase which is the part of the project where the route for the highway is mapped out.

“Landowners will know, ‘Where’s this road going on my property?’ ” Jones said.

The commissioners court voted to approve engineering consultants CP&Y to begin the engineering and design phase of the project.

“We are working with CP&Y on a public input process that may include public meetings, a community survey and other feedback opportunities,” Jones said.

Commissioner Jones said both Hays County and the City of Buda are financing this project. Buda will contribute $500,000 and Hays County will put in $1.5 million to $2 million.