Driving through Grapevine has become a piece of cake for many motorists since the completion of the $1 billion DFW Connector project two years ago.
But for drivers already in Grapevine, just trying to get onto the highways in the Texas 114/121/360 corridor, the relief has been measured.
A pretty significant step toward fixing that problem was accomplished Thursday, when city officials celebrated the opening of a pair of new on-ramps connecting southbound William D. Tate Avenue to Texas 121 and Texas 360.
$17 million Cost of two new ramps connecting William D. Tate Avenue to Texas 121 and Texas 360.
The ramps will make it easier for Grapevine motorists to head south on Texas 121 toward Bedford, Hurst and downtown Fort Worth, or on Texas 360 to Euless, Irving or Arlington.
The ramps were supposed to be part of the $1 billion DFW Connector project, but were cut at the last moment in an attempt to rein in construction costs, a Grapevine councilwoman said.
“Our mayor and council were under a lot of pressure from our own citizens and from people passing through Grapevine to get something done,” Councilwoman Sharron Spencer said, just before about two dozen local dignitaries got in their personal vehicles and took a celebratory drive on the new ramp.
Once the procession had passed, by about 2 p.m. Thursday, workers from the contractor, NorthGate Constructors, removed orange barrels and opened the new ramps to the public.
Spencer and other city officials credited Victor Vandergriff of Arlington, who serves on the Texas Transportation Commission, with pulling strings in Austin to provide the $17 million to get the ramps built.
The money came from the five-person commission’s discretionary account, Texas Department of Transportation spokesman Tony Hartzel said.
Our mayor and council were under a lot of pressure from our own citizens and from people passing through Grapevine to get something done.
Sharron Spencer, Grapevine Councilwoman
Motorists wishing to use either ramp can now take a single exit off William D. Tate Avenue, not far from Skate Town. The single ramp then splits into two, with Texas 360 traffic going left and Texas 121 traffic remaining right.
Another Grapevine councilman, Chris Coy, joked that he wasn’t sure NorthGate crews would get the project done in time for Thursday’s ribbon-cutting, especially considering that the region experienced an unusually wet spring.
“People were out here working 24/7 and despite a little bit of rain they just kept going,” Coy said.
Councilwoman Duff O’Dell quipped: “I was worried about you. Last night I came by here about 8:30 and the convoy was still working. But you did it.”
These new ramps will allow drivers to bypass the Stone Myers Parkway intersection, NorthGate spokeswoman Kristen Stieg said.