February 13, 2013

New, widened Golden Triangle Boulevard opens today and Friday

The road serves as an important commuter route in north Fort Worth.

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Correction: This story has been corrected from an earlier version. The ribbon-cutting was Wednesday.

FORT WORTH -- Work crews will remove the orange construction cones and open a widened Golden Triangle Boulevard today and Friday, giving commuters in north Fort Worth and Keller a much-improved route to and from Interstate 35W.

The 3.4-mile, $29 million project -- which runs from I-35W in Fort Worth to U.S. 377 in Keller -- expanded an old two-lane rural road into a divided, four-lane road with medians and turn lanes.

A partnership of the city of Fort Worth, Tarrant County, and the Texas Department of Transportation, the project took more than two years to build and was years in the planning.

Golden Triangle connects to Farm Road 1709 at U.S. 377 in Keller, and the road runs through Southlake to Texas 114, raising its importance as a major east-west arterial in Northeast Tarrant County. It joins Heritage Trace Parkway, North Tarrant Parkway, Basswood Boulevard and Western Center Boulevard as other improved east-west arterials in the Alliance Corridor.

"This is a big piece," Rusty Fuller, president of the North Fort Worth Alliance, an umbrella group of more than 20 far north Fort Worth homeowners associations that have pressured the city for more roads in the fast-growing I-35 corridor. "This is the one major thoroughfare that goes from 114 all the way to 35W."

The road serves as the primary connector to I-35W for the sprawling Crawford Farms subdivision in north Fort Worth, but is also popular with Keller residents who live near FM 1709.

Today, crews will complete striping on the two new eastbound lanes -- now blocked for construction -- and open the road, said Ricardo Gonzalez, the north Tarrant County engineer for the Texas Department of Transportation.

Friday, crews will restripe the two westbound lanes -- one of them has carried eastbound traffic during completion of the whole project -- and open the road, Gonzalez said.

Over the next few months, crews will install permanent signs and finish median work, Gonzalez said. Some of that work will require daily lane closures between 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., he said.

Money for the project came from three sources: $10.7 million from Fort Worth bond elections in 2004 and 2007; $7.3 million from Tarrant County; and $11 million from the federal government. The city's portion comes from leftover voter-approved money that Fort Worth is rapidly spending to get ready for its next bond election, tentatively set for May 2014.

Doug Wiersig, Fort Worth's transportation and public works director, said the road will handle 30,000 cars a day.

For future growth, the road has wide medians that can be converted to another two lanes, he said.

"You don't have to mess with any of the drainage, or buy right of way," he said.

Councilman Sal Espino, whose north-side district includes the road, has pressed for its completion and called on council members to find more ways to finance badly needed roads in the area. He called the new Golden Triangle "a first-class road for a first-class part of town for a first-class city."

Espino's district gives up the area later this year under the city's new council redistricting map. Councilmen Danny Scarth and Dennis Shingleton, whose districts share the far north with Espino's under the new map, joined Espino for a ribbon-cutting of the new road Wednesday.

Neighborhood leaders and public officials said the pending completion of the Golden Triangle project has already brought in new commercial development, namely at the intersection with North Beach Street.

"This will open up a tremendous amount of commercial development," Fuller said.

Widening Golden Triangle Road is the first of more major road projects that need to be done in the area, Fuller said.

Timberland Boulevard to the north dead-ends at Alta Vista Road, and Fort Worth wants to extend it east to U.S. 377, in partnership with the city of Keller.

Scott Nishimura, 817-390-7808

Twitter: @JScottNishimura

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