‘These roads will be so great when …’

Posted Monday, Jul. 01, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Plans to expand Airport Freeway in Euless and Irving, the next leg of an already expansive makeover of Northeast Loop 820 and the Hurst-Euless-Bedford portion of Airport Freeway, are moving forward.

Say this to yourself: “These roads will be so great when the construction is finished.”

Repeat it until your blood pressure goes back down.

Yes, an enormous amount of highway work is happening in Tarrant County, all at the same time. If your commute involves a freeway with no orange construction barrels and concrete barricades, you’re lucky.

But yes, Airport Freeway (Texas 183) from around Industrial Boulevard in Euless through Irving to Interstate 35E in Dallas also badly needs a makeover.

When traffic is moving fast, this is a high-tension drive squeezing down outdated pavement. Often it moves slowly or barely at all.

With work on Northeast Loop 820 and the H-E-B part of Airport Freeway advanced enough to show how much wider and more attractive the finished road will be, it’s clear the same is needed the rest of the way to Dallas.

State and local officials announced Friday that they will move forward with plans to hire a private developer for the new project. Roads surrounding the former Texas Stadium site in Irving will be included in what could be $3.8 billion worth of work over several decades.

Eventually, the project could include a makeover of Loop 12 near the stadium site, as well as Texas 114 from the stadium area to the north airport entrance in Grapevine.

The first phase could begin by the middle of next year and be finished in 2019, Texas Department of Transportation officials said.

Initial plans call for rebuilding lanes, improving frontage roads and adding a toll lane in each direction. Later, a second toll lane and another toll-free lane in each direction are expected, although that part could be more than a decade off.

This mixture of free lanes and toll lanes is part of the plan for several Tarrant County projects, including Interstate 35W in Fort Worth, the Loop 820/Airport Freeway remake and the DFW Connector in Grapevine.

The 27.6-mile Chisholm Trail Parkway in southwest Tarrant County and the now-open President George Bush Turnpike in western Dallas County are all-toll.

Say it again: “These roads will be so great …”

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