Mansfield News

Link from Texas 360 to turnpike considered

Regional transportation planners have a new idea that could solve the traffic jams on Interstate 20 between Texas 360 and the President George Bush Turnpike.

They are studying the possibility of building dedicated lanes to take drivers from Texas 360 to the turnpike, allowing them to skip over I-20 altogether. Drivers on the turnpike could also connect seamlessly to Texas 360.

Michael Morris, director of transportation for the North Central Texas Council of Governments, said these collector distributor roads are just one option being considered.

It’s too early to say if they would be toll lanes or if they would be elevated above I-20, Morris said.

The 2040 regional mobility plan does list them as toll connectors with four lanes and a total cost of $120 million.

The collector distributor roads would be similar to the ramps that connect Texas 360 to International Parkway at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, Morris said.

The NCTCOG will spend the next six months running computer simulations to see if this would really prevent the traffic jams in that area, Morris said. East and westbound traffic going to the Grand Prairie Premium Outlets and the Arlington Highlands could be the culprit, in which case a different solution is needed.

The completion of the Texas 360 toll lanes in spring 2018 will only add to the congestion.

“If we built a collector distributor road, would it have any benefit to solving the congestion you see on I-20?” Morris asked. “The volume is going to increase on Texas 360 so you can imagine more cars coming up.”

There’s no timeline on the project yet, but NCTCOG will have a better idea after the six-month study.

Mansfield City Councilman Darryl Haynes said the project is critical for Mansfield. He learned about it while attending a recent Southeast Tarrant Transportation Partnership meeting at Tarrant Community College.

“We want that because we’re trying to attract international corporate investors to bring business down here to Mansfield so that they can get to the airport faster,” Haynes said. “We’re competing with those funds and we need people to act now and let Michael Morris know how important this is to our region.”

Comments can be submitted to the NCTCOG online at http://www.nctcog.org/trans/outreach/meetings/index.asp. Longer comments with attachments can be submitted to awilson@nctcog.org or to transinfo@nctcog.org.

The NCTCOG is also considering solutions to the congestion on I-20 between Matlock Road and Texas 360. That includes relocating on and off ramps so they can handle the increased traffic from people going to the Highlands.

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