There’s no doubt that something needs to be done about traffic congestion along Interstate 20, 820 and U.S. 287.
Every weekday, traffic backs up as drivers must shift lanes through a confusing maze of lanes in southeast Fort Worth as they continue onward to Arlington or Mansfield.
But fixing the problem won’t be cheap and could change routes to the freeway for some neighborhoods.
Homes and businesses could also be impacted. With the wider right-of-way needed for the rebuilt freeway, some homes and businesses will likely have to go.
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A handful of properties along Meadowbrook Drive east of 820 and north of Craig Street just west of 820 could be impacted.
In Forest HIll, a few homes near Anglin Drive north of I-20 could also be in jeopardy.
Known as the Southeast Connector project, the $1.25 billion fix is still four years away from turning dirt.
In the Texas Department of Transportation’s recommended plan, the southbound entrance ramp at Brentwood Stair Road and the northbound entrance ramp from Meadowbrook Drive could both disappear along Interstate 820.
All of this is subject to change.
Transportation officials say routes can still be adjusted and more public meetings will be held. At a public meeting in July, the main concerns voiced were losing those entrance ramps and noise issues in southeast Arlington.
But there’s no way these freeways, some of which date to the mid-1960’s, can be rebuilt in some areas without taking some additional rights of way.
“Since everything is preliminary, there’s no right-of-way acquisition or even a permanent plan at this point,” said Val Lopez, a Texas Department of Transportation spokesman.
Kris Reynolds, president of the Eastern Hills Neighborhood Association in east Fort Worth, has mixed feelings about the project.
“I know it’s going to happen,” Reynolds said. “We do have some input but it sounds like there’s going to be sacrifices one way or another. I hope we have another chance to voice our opinions.”
City Councilman Cary Moon, who represents neighborhoods in east Fort Worth bordering 820, said most of the concern he has received concerns the entrance ramps at Meadowbrook and Brentwood Stair. Land acquisition is sometimes inevitable with highway projects, he said.
“These property owners will be well compensated by TxDOT for their land,” Moon said. “We’ve been waiting for 820 to get redone while other projects have been completed. It’s time to get this project started.”