Westbound traffic on Loop 820 from Grapevine Highway (Texas 26) to Interstate 35W will be shifted at 9 p.m. Sunday to the new North Tarrant Express toll lanes, said Tommy Williamson, a spokesman for the project’s developer.
The shift will allow contractors to put the final pavement on the $2.5 billion project’s westbound main lanes. Eastbound traffic will not be affected, but until traffic returns to the main lanes, Bedford-Euless Road and Denton Highway (Texas 377) will be the only way to get on westbound Loop 820.
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Holiday Lane, Iron Horse Boulevard and Denton Highway will be the only westbound Loop 820 off-ramps.
For Josh Hardin, 29, a motorcycle shop owner who lives near Beach Street south of the project and uses Loop 820 frequently, it wasn’t good news.
“I work in Lake Worth and go to school at TCC [Northeast campus], so that’s going to hurt me,” Hardin said.
But there is good news. The 13.5-mile project replacing main lanes and frontage roads, and building new toll lanes, from Interstate 35W to Industrial Boulevard, is about 93 percent finished, and the orange barrels and barricades should disappear before year’s end, Williamson said.
Drivers have enjoyed some major milestones lately.
“Westpark and Murphy were finished early in the second quarter of this year,” Williamson said.
Indeed, opening new overpasses for Westpark Way and Murphy Drive delighted hundreds of motorists, including Vernon Dede, 53, of Colleyville. He uses the bridges to get from his Kwik Kar business on Central Drive in Bedford to his Rotary Club meeting at Texas Star Golf Course in Euless.
“I’m happy this is open, but I’ll be glad when the Central interchange is finished,” Dede said.
Central Drive is one of what Williamson described as a few lingering pinch points.
In fact, Central’s lanes under Airport Freeway were shut down from 9 p.m. Friday to 10 a.m. Saturday. Closures will continue on Central, Precinct Line Road and Norwood Drive until the streets get their final layers of pavement in late summer, Williamson said.
Beach Street was finished in late 2013, and Forest Ridge Drive and Brown Trail are nearing completion, Williamson said. And a few roads that go over the highway instead of under — Hurstview Drive, Rufe Snow Drive and Ironhorse Boulevard — were finished earlier in the project. Haltom Road is virtually finished.
“Haltom Road still has some minor work going on,” Williamson said. “We also put down a final layer of asphalt on the eastbound frontage road between Central and Westpark. The same thing for the southbound 121 frontage road from just south of Bedford Road to Central.”
There are many newly paved, broad stretches of roadway where traffic not only moves more freely, but actually draws warnings from the radar-equipped lighted signs within the construction zone’s 50-mph speed limit.
“Now people can see how wide the highway is going to be and can visualize for themselves where entrances and exits are going to go,” Williamson said. “We’re still on track to open at least six months ahead of schedule, by the end of the year.”