GRAPEVINE — Nearly four years of orange-barrel headaches will soon end in Grapevines Texas 114/121 corridor.Work on the DFW Connector project, a $1 billion-plus makeover of Grapevine-area highways, is nine to 10 months ahead of schedule, a spokeswoman said. Most of the detours and narrow lanes could be gone by August or September.We are 90 percent complete, and we are looking at substantial completion in the August or September time frame, said Alyssa Tenorio, spokeswoman for NorthGate Constructors, the main contractor.In the latest sign of progress, crews moved the westbound Texas 114 lanes into their permanent traffic pattern over the weekend. With this change, both directions of Texas 114 between Texan Trail and Freeport Parkway are in their permanent place.That was one of several traffic alterations that took place over the weekend. Workers also opened the westbound Texas 114 off-ramp to Main Street in its permanent place. Also, just north of Dallas/Fort Worth Airport, the southbound Texas 121 bridge to westbound Texas 114 is now open at full capacity.The project began in October 2009, after more than a decade of planning. The long-delayed effort got a boost from the federal Recovery Act program. An award of $250 million for the DFW Connector was the single largest expenditure of stimulus money for a transportation project in the United States.Although the project will be substantially complete by late summer, motorists may still see workers doing touch-up work along the 8-mile Texas 114/121 corridor.Also, some work along Farm Road 2499 near the Grapevine-Flower Mound border will continue. That work near Grapevine Mills was initially cut from the project because of budget constraints but was later added back, after the Texas Transportation Department found an additional $32 million to pay for it.The DFW Connector is one of the most complicated projects in North Texas highway history. It involves untangling a web of gridlock caused by the confluence of at least seven state highways including heavily traveled Texas 114 and Texas 121 into a narrow space between Lake Grapevine and DFW Airport.Before the Transportation Department came up with the DFW Connector name, the area was widely known by frustrated drivers and traffic broadcasters as the Grapevine funnel.At its widest spot near the DFW Airport entrance, the rebuilt Texas 114/121 is 23 lanes wide. That includes new toll-free main lanes, frontage roads and ramps and two toll lanes in each direction.
Gordon Dickson, 817-390-7796 Twitter: @gdickson