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Public hears proposals for Hwy. 281 North expansion

More than 200 commuters and residents turned out to hear about the Environmental Impact Statement of construction projects to ease traffic congestion on Hwy. 281 north of Loop 1604.

More than 30 addressed the RMA at the public meeting, many lining up against a proposed tollway.

The report studied the environmental, social and economic impacts of the proposed construction of more highway lane between Loop 1604 and Borgfeld Road.

Terri Hall, president of Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom, or TURF, has long been an outspoken opponent of toll roads:

"The toll plan in the MPO docs today would convert two of our existing freeways from Sonterra to Stone Oak into HOV transit toll lanes, shrinking our existing free capacity to ensure congestion on our free lanes, and forcing us to have to pay tolls to get anywhere," 

TH-D-toll plan disagreement          :19              “to get anywhere”

Credit Eileen Pace
Officlals estimate more than 200 stakeholders were present at the Alamo RMA public meeting on proposed construction for Hwy. 281 North

Hall said the report did not mention the traffic back-ups she says will occur on frontage roads where non-toll traffic must exit.

The report includes two construction alternatives:

·        The Expressway Alternative would run three lanes in each direction.

·        The Elevated Expressway alternative would run four lanes in each direction and would cost about 50 percent more.

But Rob Killen, Chairman of the Governmental Affairs Council on the North San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, said the third alternative to build nothing is not an option.

"Our chamber supports either two of the build options, but we don't support a no-build alternative. The No-Build alternative does nothing to address air quality, congestion, and future growth," Killen said. 

The Alamo Regional Authority is  accepting comments until July 1st. After that, a preferred alternative will be selected and presented at another public hearing before being submitted for federal review next spring. 

Eileen Pace is a veteran radio and print journalist with a long history of investigative and feature reporting in San Antonio and Houston, earning more than 50 awards for investigative reporting, documentaries, long-form series, features, sports stories, outstanding anchoring and best use of sound.