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Spring break visitors to Fort Worth Zoo can expect traffic slowdowns

03/10/2013 10:40 PM

03/14/2013 4:47 PM

FORT WORTH - The Fort Worth Zoo is a yearly magnet for families looking for activities during the week of spring break.

And although traffic is known to be challenging, it is expected to be especially true this year with the Chisholm Trail Parkway construction under way adjacent to stretches of I-30 just west of downtown Fort Worth.

North Texas Tollway Authority spokesman Michael Rey said work will continue on the tollway during spring break.

"Our team has been communicating with the City of Fort Worth and zoo officials, telling them that closures and construction impacts currently in place will remain during spring break, but we will not be adding additional [major] impactful closures," Rey said by email. "Of course, that is subject to change should emergencies arise."

In its Chisholm Trail newsletter, the tollway authority cautioned drivers that there could be slowdowns.

"Visitors to the zoo will be able to access the facility using their normal route, but they should be prepared for construction traffic as Chisholm Trail Parkway crews will continue their work on the new toll road," the newsletter said.

During the nine-day spring break period, the zoo typically sees more than 100,000 visitors. Its all-time daily attendance record of 25,804 was set on a half-price Wednesday in 2010.

Alexis Wilson, spokeswoman for the Fort Worth Zoo, doesn't anticipate any major problems this year. Wilson said zoo officials have worked closely with the city and the tollway authority to make traffic flow as smoothly as possible.

She suggested visitors reach the zoo from a direction other than the most popular route on University Drive.

"As always, seeking some alternative routes is wise," Wilson said. "If you take one of those alternative routes, like taking I-35W to the south and coming in from Berry Street, that is very smart."

Off-duty Fort Worth police officers and zoo personnel will direct traffic to the soccer fields and other remote parking around the zoo. An electronic message board will be placed on University Drive at the Trinity River Bridge to give traffic information and directions.

Visitors who use Forest Park Boulevard should know there is no longer an entry ramp onto the freeway. Northbound Forest Park traffic trying to enter eastbound I-30 will enter a new frontage road to Summit Avenue and go through a traffic signal before getting on the freeway.

Bill Hanna, (817) 390-7698

Twitter: @fwhanna

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