FORT WORTH -- The new Hulen Street bridge in west Fort Worth will open today, in the latest sign that the Chisholm Trail Parkway project is on schedule for completion by mid-2014.
Crews will begin shifting traffic onto the new lanes at the conclusion of rush hour this morning and hope to complete the switch before afternoon peak drive time, said Michael Rey, spokesman for the North Texas Tollway Authority, the agency overseeing the work.
The switchover had been scheduled for Saturday, but tollway authority officials decided to move up the work a day. Rain is forecast for this evening and Saturday, and the lane stripes cannot be put down if the pavement is wet, he said.
The opening should provide a bit of traffic relief for motorists, who have endured delays for more than 17 months on the bridge, which spans Union Pacific Railroad's Davidson Yard.
"We think it's going to be a little better," Rey said. "We've got two full lanes going northbound."
But the traffic headaches are far from over. Motorists must still endure narrowed lanes on the new bridge until spring.
The new bridge will be a staging ground for the piece-by-piece demolition of the old one. That arrangement is part of a deal involving the North Texas Tollway Authority, the state Transportation Department and Union Pacific to build the project with minimal impact on the huge railyard.
The original bridge was built in 1967.