A. Lee Graham
Fort Worth-area commuters can expect the 13.3-mile North Tarrant Express to open in full operation in October, eight months ahead of the original schedule.
“Our project team has been working incredibly hard to complete all of the intersections and bridges, and get the final pavement in place,” said Robert Hinkle, director of corporate affairs for NTE Mobility Partners in a news release.
Thanks in part to its partnership with the Texas Department of Transportation, Hinkle said his agency was able to accelerate the construction schedule.
The five-year, $2.5 billion project began in late 2010. It has included reconstructing expanded frontage lanes and main lanes and the addition of TEXpress managed lanes, along Loop 820 and Texas 121-183 between Interstate 35W in Fort Worth and Industrial Boulevard in Euless.
Final paving and striping is currently underway throughout much of the corridor, with all major construction activities now completed, according to NTE Mobility Partners.
The NTE project is expected to nearly double the road capacity with the addition of TEXpress lanes throughout the length of corridor, officials said. Motorists may travel along the newly rebuilt general highway lanes and frontage roads free of charge, or enter TEXpress Lanes, featuring variable aimed at keeping minimum speed at 50 mph.
Signage, including dedicated entrance and exit ramps, will guide drivers safely on and off each segment. Sensors along the roadway will transmit information about vehicle volume and congestion levels. Tolls are planned to be recalibrated as often as every five minutes to ensure the smooth flow of traffic.
“This is truly groundbreaking technology that represents the next generation of effective traffic management,” Hinkle said.
TEXpress lanes also will be added to Interstate 35W from downtown Fort Worth to the U.S. 287 interchange. NTE Mobility Partners is the developer on the southern section of Interstate 35W, from Interstate 30 near downtown to just north of the Interstate 820 interchange. Pre-construction activity is now underway along Interstate 35W with completion of the north and south segments expected in 2017.