With the North Tarrant Express reconstruction project at 96 percent complete, a pair of upcoming traffic switches is truly signaling the end is near.“This should be the last of the switches,” said Tommy Williamson, NTE’s assistant public relations manager. Beginning Saturday, motorists driving northbound on Loop 820 toward eastbound Texas 121/183 will encounter a left exit instead of right. The switch will move traffic onto the new TEXpress lanes.Motorists traveling eastbound on 820 toward 121/183 will also be moved onto the TEXpress lanes.The TEXpress lanes will be managed lanes, or toll lanes, when the project is complete, but they will be free until then.As commuters make the adjustment to Saturday’s switch, they also need to be aware of more changes coming Monday, when motorists driving westbound on 121/183 toward southbound 820 will also shift to TEXpress lanes via a right exit instead of left.The temporary moves are expected to last about a month in the area near North East Mall in Hurst.The NTE project, which runs from Interstate 35W in north Fort Worth to Industrial Boulevard in Euless, is nearing completion, Williamson said. He said the last 4 percent of the work is to finish paving the reconstructed east-west thoroughfare.When finished, the NTE will be the second massive road project in Northeast Tarrant County to be completed in the last year. The $1 billion DFW Connector project in Grapevine ended late last year. Further to the south, the Chisholm Trail Parkway, which connects Fort Worth to Cleburne, partially opened in May with completion scheduled for October or September.But the orange barrels and cones will not be put away. Work began last month on the reconstruction of I-35W, from Interstate 30 near downtown Fort Worth to Loop 820, and will continue until 2018.Even as the NTE project is winding down, motorists are urged to use caution when driving on ever-changing lanes. “We need people to slow down in this area and be aware of the drivers around them to ensure everyone stays safe,” said Robert Hinkle, director of corporate affairs for NTE Mobility Partners.The upcoming traffic shifts will result in some closings, including:• On-ramp from Texas 26 to eastbound 121/183;• Connector from Davis Boulevard to eastbound 121/183;• Off-ramp from eastbound 121/183 to Precinct Line Road;• On-ramp from Norwood Drive to westbound 121/183;• On-ramp from Precinct Line to westbound 121/183;• Off-ramp from westbound 121/183 to Texas 26/Davis;• Off-ramp from southbound 820 to Pipeline/Glenview Drive.
Lee Williams, 817-390-7840 Twitter: @leewatson