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MoPac to get new, free 
ramps at Parmer Ln

Under pressure, state makes changes, opts to let 
drivers enter, exit without paying toll.

Responding to community and political pressure, as well as longstanding rush hour traffic snarls at Parmer Lane and MoPac Boulevard, the Texas Department of Transportation has decided to spend $25 million on a variety of changes at the intersection and nearby tollway project.

Foremost among those changes, at least to nearby residents, will be the addition of a MoPac (Loop 1) entrance and exit north of Parmer without toll charges. Leaders in the Wells Branch and Scofield neighborhoods had protested a plan to charge a 50-cent toll for a northbound exit from MoPac or a southbound entrance near Wells Branch Parkway.

Those two ramps, and their toll charges, will remain. But the new design will allow northbound drivers to avoid that charge by exiting sooner. Waiting for the later exit, and paying, will allow drivers to avoid the traffic light at Scofield Ridge Parkway. Drivers on the southbound frontage road will face a similar choice.

"I am absolutely delighted to be able to address a recognized mobility and safety concern that this region has had for a number of years," Daigh said.

For much of this year, however, it was far from clear that anything would happen. The design for the tollway has been in place for several years, but residents became aware of the ramp problem only about a year ago. In their view, the original design meant they would have to start paying tolls to use a currently free section of road that bypasses lengthy Parmer traffic lights. They appealed to Daigh's office but were told that free ramps north of Parmer would compromise the toll road's bond financing agreements.

Stick and state Sen. Gonzalo Barrientos, D-Austin, began to press for help from the Texas Transportation Commission, appointees of Gov. Rick Perry already under fire in Central Texas for their tacit support of a seven-tollway plan approved this summer by local officials. After Daigh submitted this latest design, commission Chairman Ric Williamson sent Daigh a letter on Friday directing him to move forward.

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