SH130 accident inquiry continues

David Maly

Police said they are still investigating the first fatal accident to occur on the new stretch of State Highway 130 that, at 85 miles per hour, has the highest speed limit in the nation.

Police said an accident occurred Sunday on the highway around 2 p.m. in Mustang Ridge, roughly 20 miles south of Austin.

The driver of a Honda Civic, Martha Harris, 60, of Lockhart, was killed after colliding with a Chevy Tahoe in the southbound lanes of the highway. Harris had just entered onto the road. The driver and passenger of the Chevy Tahoe suffered minor injuries.

A 41-mile stretch of the highway that runs from Mustang Ridge to Interstate Highway 10 in Seguin opened Oct. 24, connecting the Austin and San Antonio areas.

Police said the accident occurred on the section of the highway with an 85 mile per hour speed limit, but they do not know how fast the drivers were going or if the speed limit was a contributing factor to the accident.

Police said one safety issue that has arisen with the new stretch of highway is the presence of feral hogs and other animals on the roadway. They said that was not a contributing factor to this accident. 

Tolling began on the newly opened stretch of the road Sunday. No toll was implemented at first to allow drivers the chance to try out the new roadway. Tolls can only be paid through the TxTag program or by mail. The ride on the new section of the road is $4.23 by TxTag and $5.63 by mail for noncommercial vehicles without trailers.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, rural areas of Texas and Utah contain the nation’s roads with the second-highest speed limits at 80 miles per hour.

Sixteen states have roadways with a speed limit of 75 miles per hour, 36 with a speed limit of at least 70 miles per hour and all states except Hawaii have roads with a speed limit of at least 65 miles per hour. The highest speed limit in Hawaii is 60 miles per hour.