Massive rebuild coming to U.S. 287 and Interstate 20 from Fort Worth to Mansfield
If you drive along the freeways through southeast Fort Worth during the morning or evening rush hour, it isn't unusual to face gridlock.
The headaches aren't helped by the continuous changing of lanes drivers must navigate when driving from downtown Fort Worth to Mansfield.
On that route, drivers must merge from U.S. 287 into the left-hand lanes of Interstate 820, then merge back into the right-hand lanes of Interstate 20 to keep traveling south on U.S. 287.
"It just keeps getting worse and worse," said Mansfield Mayor David Cook, who makes the trip several times a week.
Now there is a $1.25 billion plan to fix it.
The massive rebuild would be 16 miles long, stretching from Meadowbrook Drive along I-820 on the northern end to Sublett Road on U.S. 287 on the southern end. On I-20, the project would stretch from Forest Hill Drive on the western end to Kelly-Elliot Road on the eastern end.
"I think this project is necessary not just for southeast Tarrant County but for all of Tarrant County," Cook said.
Construction could start as early as 2022, said Val Lopez, a Texas Department of Transportation spokesman.
"This is a very big, very important project," Lopez said.
The number of vehicles traveling daily along I-20 through the interchange are projected to jump from 251,500 in 2010 to 394,400 by 2040.
On I-820, traffic counts are projected to increase from 140,950 in 2010 to 220,400 in 2040.
Along U.S. 287, traffic is expected to climb from 102,900 in 2010 to 167,300 by 2040.
Other options being considered include adding pedestrian/bicycle lanes, reversible managed express lanes or reconfiguring existing interchanges to eliminate left-hand entrances and exits.
Cook, the Mansfield mayor, said the May opening of the 360 Tollway which runs from south Arlington to Mansfield has dramatically helped drivers on the eastern side of the city. Now, the Southeast Connector needs to rebuild for those headed toward Fort Worth.
"I think there is a strong consensus that this is the next connector that needs to be completed," Cook said. "From everything I'm hearing — from a priority standpoint — this project is being pushed forward."