Your Commute

February 10, 2014

Brace for Impact: $166 million didn’t fix I-30 bottleneck

The “Three Bridges” project makes it fun to drive again in Arlington — but only until you get as far west as Cooper Street.

Three years and $166 million later, why is traffic still backing up on Interstate 30 in Arlington?

The so-called Three Bridges project created a new mobility gateway for Arlington and a new front door for Globe Life Park and AT&T Stadium. But on the west end of the project, near Cooper Street, Lamar Boulevard and Fielder Road, the fancy new road work rejoins the same old I-30 that motorists were accustomed to before the $166 million project.

As a result, six lanes of traffic squeeze into three lanes in a space of about 1 mile.

The Texas Department of Transportation says it’s taking steps to improve the transition.

A $640,000 contract has been awarded so that a crew can expand a westbound transition lane for traffic entering at Cooper and Lamar, providing an extra half-mile before traffic finally has to merge at Fielder Road. That work is scheduled to be completed by Friday, weather permitting.

But Brian Barth, the department’s new Fort Worth district director, acknowledges that it’s a temporary fix that will just buy the state some time, until it can afford to expand the entire I-30 corridor from Arlington to Fort Worth. Those improvements are likely a decade or two away, he said — perhaps longer.

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