City officials estimate the long-awaited Heritage Parkway and bridge project will open next month, creating a major east-west corridor that will provide a straight shot to Texas 360 for many truckers who now rumble through the downtown.
The $10 million, 4,500-foot project, which includes a bridge with a span of 750 feet to traverse the Union Pacific Railroad and two major lines that funnel raw water from two lakes to the Tarrant Regional Water District, has been under construction since Nov. 13, 2014. The project is expected to be completed by mid- to late March, said Gus Chavarria Jr., the city’s project manager.
Two boulevard-style road sections were built on either side of the bridge, totaling 3,750 feet, and connect U.S. 287 to Texas 360. The bridge will have the same configuration as the roadway but was built wide enough to expand to six lanes in the future, said city engineer Bart VanAmburgh.
Officials say the new bridge won’t end truck traffic on downtown Main Street, but it will help. And that’s enough to excite Ca’lee Hernandez.
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“They’re very loud,” said Hernandez, who works at MaryLou’s Coffee & Sandwich Shoppe at 137 N. Main St. “I don’t think they should be allowed down here, personally.”
VanAmburgh said the contractor, Ed Bell Construction, is about 100 workdays ahead of schedule.
The construction is finished, and now work crews are detailing the bridge as well as striping lanes and installing lighting in the medians.
Most of the project funding came from the Mansfield Economic Development Corp., which provided almost $6.1 million in bonds from the 2004 and 2012 elections.
Tarrant County committed more than $2.8 million in bond funds. And the city pulled out almost 1.4 million from its utility bond fund and $308,000 from the street bond fund to help finance the project.
“This is definitely the largest project I’ve ever managed,” said Chavarria, who noted that trucks coming from FM 917, which becomes Heritage Parkway where it enters the city from the southwest, will have a straight path to Texas 360.
“Eventually, Regency Parkway will intersect east of the track,” said Scott Welmaker, the city’s economic development director, who said the new route will open the area for more development, especially east of the railroad tracks. “There’s a lot of raw land over there that’s prime now for development.”
Robert Cadwallader, 817-390-7641