One of Arlington’s most frustrating traffic areas, a relic from the 1950s-era Dallas-Fort Worth Turnpike, is at last in line for a 21st-century makeover.
The Texas Transportation Commission has approved $254 million for construction of a direct-connect Interstate 30/Texas 360 interchange, the Texas Department of Transportation announced Tuesday.
The intersection of the two high-volume highways is a major crossroads in north Arlington. Motorists use the outdated and inefficient cloverleaf interchange, which was built as a toll collection site and has stoplights, to reach AT&T Stadium, Globe Life Park in Arlington and Six Flags Over Texas. Converting that into an interchange that connects both directions of I-30 with both directions of Texas 360 so that motorists can move seamlessly between the highways is a key component of the project.
“This is a very significant project for motorists that use I-30 and 360,” said Val Lopez, spokesman for highway department’s Fort Worth district. “It will be the scale and size of the 360 and I-20 interchange.”
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Commuters take Texas 360 north to Dallas-Fort Worth Airport and south to the Interstate 20 corridor and growing Mansfield. I-30, meanwhile, is still the main route connecting Arlington with Dallas and Fort Worth.
Boundaries for the massive project extend east from Cooper Street in Arlington to the President George Bush Turnpike in Grand Prairie and from Avenue K/Brown Boulevard south to The Road to Six Flags.
The project will include reconstruction and widening of the Six Flags Drive bridge over I-30 from two to five lanes, and Six Flags Drive will be extended north to Avenue H.
“The I-30 project in the [Arlington] entertainment district was about $154 million,” Lopez said. “This is something of a more sophisticated project.”
The multiyear project will eliminate the last remnant of the old Dallas-Fort Worth Turnpike, Lopez said, the only remaining cloverleaf interchange that controlled turnpike access to Texas 360.
State officials have said that the improvements will require about 17 acres of new right of way. Most of the area adjacent to the highways is entertainment and retail-type businesses.
The state is expected to complete the design and an environmental impact study of the project this year.
Mayor Robert Cluck characterized the current situation at the intersection as “a nightmare for Arlington” and said the intersection is usually the city’s most-criticized traffic configuration.
“I’m very pleased, just thrilled, to see a solution coming for it,” he said Tuesday night. “It’s a very extensive project, but nothing good happens quickly, does it?”
The highway department will take competitive bids and name a project contractor this fall. Construction is expected to begin soon after.
The funds are part of the allocation of Proposition 1 money approved by voters last fall that directs $1.74 billion of oil and gas tax revenues into the state highway fund. An estimated $2 billion in roadway projects are expected to begin across the state this year.
This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.
Shirley Jinkins, 817-390-7657