A ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday officially opened the $10 million Heritage Parkway bridge, closing the last gap in a much-needed, east-west thoroughfare across southern Mansfield.
The 750-foot bridge and boulevard-style road sections on either side of the bridge -- a total project of 4,500 feet -- connects Texas 360 to U.S. 287 and is expected to spark new development and draw truckers to Heritage Parkway and away from high-traffic streets.
“This bridge is a long-awaited game changer that will finally open The Reserve to investment and be a primary east-west transportation artery,” said City Councilman Darryl Haynes. The Reserve is a roughly 2,600-acre territory of mostly undeveloped land that many city officials say needs the spark of improved access.
Business owners in the core of downtown have complained for years about big-rig truckers thundering down Main Street to get to the city’s main industrial district.
Another problem is heavy trucks using East Broad Street as part of a route connecting Texas 360 to Heritage Parkway and the industrial parks, said Richard Nevins, assistant economic development director. Others take East Broad most of the way across town and then turn south on Sixth Street through a residential area to reach the industrial district.
Now, those trucks can stay on Texas 360 and exit directly onto Heritage Parkway.
Now that the state is expected to cede control of the downtown section of FM 157/Main Street to the city as soon as this week, the city would have authority to mandate that 18-wheel truckers make use of the alternative routes, said Public Works Director Steve Freeman.
Trucks and other traffic now will able to take a straight shot from the western border, where FM 917 becomes Heritage Parkway, to the industrial parks and all the way across Texas 360, past Big League Dreams and Hawaiian Falls, and exit the city to the east.
“It just gives a less-traveled route,” Freeman said. “It will be the main corridor for all of the industrial park.”
The Mansfield Economic Development Corp. provided most of the construction funding -- almost $6.1 million from the 2004 and 2012 bond elections. Tarrant County added $2.8 million and the city paid $1.7 million.
The other benefit, officials say, is economic development.
“It’s going to open up all that real estate basically between Matlock Road and 287” on Heritage, Nevins said.
Robert Cadwallader, 817-390-7641