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Tolls rising across Dallas-Fort Worth

I-30 in Fort Worth had to be reconstructed to make the necessary connections to the new Chisholm Trail Parkway toll road. The improvements were supposed to be done by February but are still not finished.
I-30 in Fort Worth had to be reconstructed to make the necessary connections to the new Chisholm Trail Parkway toll road. The improvements were supposed to be done by February but are still not finished. Star-Telegram

Driving on Chisholm Trail Parkway and other tollways soon will cost a little more.

The North Texas Tollway Authority board has approved a rate increase that amounts to a little less than a penny per mile. The new rate for TollTag users will be 17.06 cents per mile, up from 16.16 cents per mile. Car owners without a TollTag can still use toll roads and have their license plate photographed, but the bill they receive in the mail will be about 50 percent higher than the TollTag rate.

The increase takes effect July 1.

The agency typically raises its rates every two years to cover the increased cost of maintenance, as well as construction of new area toll roads, spokesman Michael Rey said.

Although tolls can be unpopular, they provide the Plano-based tollway authority with the resources to keep roads well-maintained, said tollway authority chairman Kenneth Barr.

“Drivers tell us they choose to pay for driving NTTA toll roads because they find them faster, safer and cleaner,” Barr, a former Fort Worth mayor, said in an email.

He said communities also benefit from the economic development that springs up around toll roads.

Road signs will be updated to show the new toll rates in the coming weeks, officials said.

The new toll rate means motorists with a TollTag wishing to travel the length of Chisholm Trail Parkway, will pay $5.19. That’s up from the current rate of $4.91 for to travel on the 28-mile corridor from Interstate 30 near downtown Fort Worth to U.S. 67 in Cleburne.

For those without a TollTag, the trip on Chisholm Trail Parkway will be $7.79, up from $7.37.

The per-mile rate on Chisholm Trail Parkway is higher than the regionwide average of 17.06 cents per mile because the roadway was built with aesthetics that aren’t seen on other area toll roads, at the request of Fort Worth officials who wanted to make sure the road had a parkway feel.

Similar increases were also approved for other roads owned and operated by the tollway authority, including the Dallas North Tollway, the Sam Rayburn Tollway and the President George Bush Turnpike.

Ongoing work

Although Chisholm Trail Parkway opened in May 2014, the main connection at the road’s intersection with Interstate 30 is still under construction. Getting on and off Chisholm Trail Parkway isn’t much of a problem, but main lane traffic on I-30 has been squeezed into temporary lanes and concrete barriers for several years.

Tollway authority officials earlier this year said the work on I-30 would be substantially complete by May, but their work was delayed by record rainfall and flooding.

Now that the spring rain has subsided, the plan is to finish paving the new I-30 lanes by the end of this month, and move traffic into its permanent configuration, Elizabeth Mow, tollway authority assistant executive director of infrastructure, said Wednesday.

But concrete barriers will probably remain in the corridor until the end of July, so workers can complete median work.

After that, the road work will be substantially complete, although landscaping and other side work will continue until roughly August.

Gordon Dickson, 817-390-7796

Twitter: @gdickson

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