FORT WORTH — Trinity Boulevard is back in business, sort of. But North Tarrant Express construction continues to throw curves at commuters.A contractor finished one asphalt lane in each direction across a section of Trinity Boulevard that was closed March 16, said Bill Begley, a city spokesman. It opened early Thursday.“We worked really hard with the contractor and other parties involved, including the residents and businesses in the area, to get the traffic and the project moving again,” Begley said.McMahon Contracting repaired the spot where a rain-swollen Valley View Branch undermined the pavement between Norwood Road and Bell Spur, Begley said. Initially, officials were going to let the road remain closed until the contractor finished building half of a four-lane bridge over the creek. Ultimately, the project will also raise the roadbed high enough that the storm-fed flooding for which it is notorious will no longer be an issue.“They were going to get the work done so that the two-lane bridge on the north side could carry traffic while they were finishing the second two-lane bridge on the south side,” Begley said. In mid-April, Fort Worth Transportation and Public Works administrators decided to go with the temporary fix, because the road is too important to commuters, Begley said. Stretching from North Loop 820 to Texas 360 along the southern edges of Hurst and Euless, Trinity Boulevard is a popular route for drivers looking to avoid Texas 10. Traffic increased dramatically on Texas 10 after the North Tarrant Express project irritated commuters on Airport Freeway.All lanes of Central Drive at Texas 121/183 are expected to close from 9 p.m. Saturday to 10 a.m. Sunday, diverting northbound traffic to Murphy Drive, and southbound, to Forest Ridge Drive.Construction will close the eastbound Airport Freeway exit to Central Drive through mid-July. Traffic will take the next exit at Westpark Way.Contrary to what was originally feared, extra work necessary for the temporary fix on Trinity Boulevard didn’t cost extra, Begley said.Transportation and Public Works said the repairs would add no cost to the city, Begley said.This week, the contractor will relocate a 16-inch water line on the north side of Trinity Boulevard, making room for the bridge.McMahon will then build the south half of the bridge, which is expected to take about five months, Begley said.When that’s finished, traffic will be shifted onto that bridge’s two lanes, and construction will begin on the north half, which will replace the temporary lanes that opened last week.The contractor expects to finish the project by late summer 2015, several months ahead of the originally scheduled December 2015 completion date, Begley said.
Terry Evans, 817-390-7620 Twitter: @fwstevans