The rest of this week and the upcoming weekend could be a challenging time for motorists on North Texas roads, particularly in the Fort Worth and Arlington areas.
At least five events promise to cause congestion on area roads.
Among them are the Texas Rangers baseball club’s opening day, a funeral for a well-known member of the Tuskegee Airmen and a big NASCAR race at Texas Motor Speedway.
Here are details:
▪ The action starts Thursday, when nearly 50,000 fans are expected for Texas Rangers baseball opening day — the last opening day for Globe Life Park in Arlington. Tailgating is expected to start getting serious about 10 a.m., with many events at the new Texas Live! entertainment venue, so watch for traffic tie-ups on Interstate 30, Texas 360, Division Street and other area roads.
First pitch is scheduled for 3:05 p.m.
Rangers officials urged drivers to check out the club’s parking website for additional information prior to heading out to the ballpark. Some parking lots will not be available because of ongoing construction of Globe Life Field, which the Rangers are expected to move into across the street from Globe Life Park next season.
▪ Also Thursday, a funeral procession for Robert T. McDaniel, Fort Worth’s last surviving member of the famed Tuskegee Airmen who died March 19 at the age of 96, is scheduled to move through Tarrant County. A funeral for McDaniel is scheduled for 11 a.m. Thursday at Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church north of the Fort Worth Stockyards, followed by burial at Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery, 2000 Mountain Creek Parkway in Dallas. The procession is expected to begin roughly at 1 p.m.
Fort Worth police say the procession will begin at Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church, 2823 N. Houston St., and proceed east on 28th Street to Interstate 35W. The vehicles will then get on the TEXPress lanes and go north to Northeast Loop 820, and east on Texas 183 TEXPress lanes through Bedford, Euless and Irving. The group will exit at Loop 12 and go south to Mountain Creek Parkway, which leads to the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery.
▪ Throughout the weekend, tens of thousands of fans are expected to clog roads such as I-35W and Texas 114 on their way to Texas Motor Speedway. The main draw — the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 — is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. Sunday.
Traffic could be especially rough after the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race on Sunday evening and early Monday, as thousands of campers leave the speedway in recreational vehicles.
Motorists who aren’t heading to the races or who don’t live near the speedway might want to avoid the I-35W/Texas 114 corridor all weekend. Many roads including Texas 114 and Farm Road 156 are often clogged with pre- and post-race traffic, and police often reverse the flow of traffic on area roads to get the crowds in and out.
▪ On Saturday, hundreds of cyclists are expected to take part in an 80-mile endurance ride known as the Gran Fondo Hincapie, which is scheduled to begin around 9 a.m. at Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop at The Shops at Clearfork. Riders are expected to begin lining up around 8 a.m.
The race is scheduled to be mostly on side streets and country roads south of Fort Worth, in the Benbrook and Crowley areas, but motorists who happen to get caught behind the riders could be in for long delays.
▪ Also on Saturday, roads surrounding downtown Fort Worth are expected to be crowded at several thousand residents take part in the annual Cesar Chavez solidarity walk. The walk, sponsored by the Cesar Chavez Committee of Tarrant County as a way to pay tribute to the civil rights activist, is expected to begin at 1 p.m. at General Worth Square just north of the Fort Worth Convention Center.
Participants will walk north on Main Street to the Tarrant County College Trinity River Campus.
The solidarity walk will take place at the same time the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association holds its annual convention and expo at the convention center, likely bringing additional truck and trailer traffic to downtown.