Drivers in Northeast Tarrant County can look forward to more excitement and adventure as they’re challenged to figure out the effects of shifting traffic patterns on Airport Freeway and Northeast Loop 820.
Construction that begins Monday to put the final layer of pavement on westbound Airport Freeway (Texas 121/183) main lanes will shift all traffic onto the new toll lanes for about a month, closing two on-ramps and one exit.
This maneuver should be familiar to many regular commuters on the North Tarrant Express project. It comes on the heels of a roughly two-week shift of westbound Loop 820 traffic that has since mid-June bypassed some ramps.
“Westbound traffic could be restored at the same time,” said NTE Mobility Partners spokesman Tommy Williamson. “There may be a one-day overlap. But for sure by Tuesday night.”
After it happens, drivers who are accustomed to entering westbound Airport Freeway from Murphy Drive and Central Drive will have to use the previous entrances at Harwood Road and Bedford Road, respectively.
The westbound Airport Freeway exit to Bedford Road will be closed, and traffic will be directed to the next exit at Brown Trail.
And Eastbound Northeast Loop 820 drivers will be shifted to the new toll lanes — from Interstate 35W to Grapevine Highway (Texas 26) — for two weeks.
“This will all happen at 9 p.m. Monday, unless weather delays construction,” Williamson said. “If it does, it will happen Tuesday.”
The only entrances to eastbound 820 will be from Denton Highway (U.S. 377) and Iron Horse Boulevard. The only places to get off eastbound 820 will be Denton Highway and Grapevine Highway.
However, a temporary exit to Beach Street will be opened to help decrease congestion, Williamson said. Once crews finish installing new pavement on the old main lanes, traffic will be shifted back to them and the Beach Street exit will go away.
Someday, a Beach Street exit will come back again as part of the North Tarrant Express I-35W project, Williamson said.
“That project kicked off in May,” Williamson said. “You should see heavy construction starting up in the third or fourth quarter this year. We don’t know when the Beach Street exit from eastbound Loop 820 will be restored. It’s just part of that project, which should be finished by 2018.”