Traffic snarled by washed-out road

03/18/2014 5:40 PM

03/18/2014 5:41 PM

Northeast Tarrant County was hit by a sudden, major traffic disruption when a weekend downpour washed out an under-construction part of Trinity Boulevard south of Bell Helicopter’s main plant and headquarters in far east Fort Worth.

The disarray at prime commuting times will probably get some relief in short order, as North Texas drivers are adept at finding alternate routes when their primary way is blocked.

But Trinity Boulevard is pretty much gone in the area of the washout. And as Fort Worth traffic officials and others huddled Monday to decide on the best way to make repairs, one option that appeared to gain some favor was to route all traffic away from that area for as long as three months.

That means drivers need some help, and some of it will need to come from Fort Worth’s neighbors.

The planned detour would take traffic from Trinity Boulevard north on Norwood Drive to Hurst Boulevard/Texas 10, then east to Bell Spur and back south to Trinity Boulevard.

What quickly became apparent Monday was that neither Norwood Drive nor Bell Spur is built for that much extra traffic.

And the traffic lights on Hurst Boulevard/Texas 10 are timed to keep traffic moving on that thoroughfare, not on the previously minor cross streets like Norwood and Bell Spur.

Traffic on those streets came to a standstill when the workweek started and commuters were routed off of Trinity Boulevard.

That’s an inconvenience, but there’s also a hazard. Norwood and Bell Spur both cross the Trinity Railway Express tracks, and blocked bumper-to-bumper traffic means there’s a danger of a vehicle being stuck on the tracks as a train approaches.

Traffic officials in Fort Worth and in neighboring Hurst will have to find ways to allow vehicles to move through the detour faster and more safely. That could mean better sequencing of traffic signals on Hurst Boulevard/Texas 10.

The washout came as a contractor worked to alleviate a longtime flooding hazard on Trinity Boulevard.

Plans call for a larger drainage culvert and bridges to carry both eastbound and westbound traffic.

Like many other areas of road construction in Tarrant County, it will be great once it’s done.

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