The Alliance Town Center area is keying up to become a destination for people looking for entertainment and dining options. But they will have to deal with construction to get there.

Newly opened and upcoming destinations are joining the area, such as the Truck Yard at 3101 Prairie Vista Drive in Fort Worth that opened Jan. 16. Other draws are also on the way, such as Andretti Indoor Karting & Games, which is slated to open in October 2024 at I-35W and Tarrant Parkway in Fort Worth, and the H-E-B grocery store, which is slated to open in the first half of 2024 at the intersection of Heritage Trace Parkway and North Riverside Drive in Fort Worth, according to previous Community Impact reporting.

“Alliance Town Center continues to be a destination for the region, and I’m excited to welcome some new additions to serve our growing community,” said Mark Miller, senior vice president of retail development at Hillwood.

As people flock to these new destinations traffic counts along that portion of I-35W, also known as segment 3C, are expected to increase.

“At its highest peak, more than 99,000 vehicles per day travel in Segment 3C,” said Michael Peters, public information officer with the Texas Department of Transportation. “Based upon projections from the North Central Texas Council of Governments, traffic in this segment is expected to increase to approximately 187,000 vehicles per day by 2045.”

To relieve the potential congestion that doubling the traffic counts might create, TxDOT officials worked with the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration and the group funding the project to create the Interstate 35W Improvement Project. The project spans 18 miles from I-30 to Eagle Parkway and will double traffic capacity by reconstructing existing lanes and adding two TEXpress Lanes—which are tolled, managed lanes—in each direction.

Besides reconfiguring existing lanes and adding new lanes, TxDOT’s goal is to also transform the I-35W corridor into a “smart corridor.” By using active traffic management technology, smart corridors allow transportation and law enforcement officials to better detect and respond to incidents in a timely manner, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation website.

“This new segment of completely modernized roadway will improve regional capacity, safety and reliable mobility for travelers while reducing congestion and carbon emissions for the region and the state,” said Thierry Deau, chairman/CEO of Meridiam, one of the partners working on the Interstate 35W Improvement Project.

Road work underway

According to TxDOT officials, the stretch of I-35W from I-30 north to Eagle Parkway, just north of Perot Field Fort Worth Alliance Airport, is ranked sixth on the state’s most congested roadways list. But TxDOT and other transportation entities have made significant headway in that corridor.

That section of I-35W is the third phase of the North Tarrant Express project, which is dedicated to improving mobility along north I-35W, northeast I-820 and SH 121/183 Airport Freeway. It is broken up into three segments: 3A extends from I-30 to I-820, 3B runs from I-820 to US 81/287, and 3C is the portion from US 81/287 to Eagle Parkway. Construction is complete in segments 3A and 3B.

According to a TxDOT project tracker, 13% of segment 3C is complete. The first bridge beams have been installed and work continues on the future I-35W main lanes at North Tarrant Parkway.

According to business owners in the Alliance Town Center area, relief from the construction cannot come soon enough.

“The groups that are here feel like [the construction] has hurt their sales just because it’s been a lot more difficult to get in and out in terms of getting off the highway,” Miller said. “Once it gets done, I think we all feel like it’s going to be way better. People can get in easier and get back out easier. It will be much easier to navigate.”

There are four closures in segment 3C that have various opening times in 2023, according to TxDOT’s website. First, the on-ramp to southbound I-35W from Golden Triangle Boulevard will be closed until March 15. Traffic will be redirected to the next entrance at Heritage Trace Parkway. Second, the on-ramp to southbound I-35W from Westport Parkway will be closed until March 31. Traffic will be redirected to the next entrance at SH 170. Third, the on-ramp to southbound I-35W from Alliance Boulevard will be closed until April 30. Traffic will be redirected to the next entrance at Westport Parkway. Fourth, the off-ramp from southbound I-35W to SH 170 will be closed until Sept. 30. Traffic will be redirected to the previous exit at Westport Parkway.

Multiple long-term lane closures are also affecting traffic in Segment 3C, and motorists should expect delays through September.

Funding for the project was also based upon the three segments. According to TxDOT, the $2.6 billion project was paid for by a combination of public and private sources. Segment 3A cost $1.4 billion; Segment 3B cost $256 million; and Segment 3C cost $950 million, according to TxDOT.

Alliance growth

In the midst of the road work, on each side of the interstate, the Alliance area of Fort Worth is booming with new businesses.

Alliance Town Center at 9550 Sage Meadow Trail, Fort Worth, is one of the developments that is seeing growth, including the Truck Yard, which opened Jan. 16. Truck Yard features a 38-foot ferris wheel, food trucks, and live music and games. “It has been a little challenging getting in and out of there right now with all the construction. It really hasn’t slowed or caused an issue. ... I think that is good news for the future [growth],” said Jim Saunders, president of Brain Storm Shelter, which owns Truck Yard.

Alliance Town Center boasts 37 shopping options and 43 restaurants. There are also two townhomes complexes and five apartment living options that are part of the shop, dine, live combination highlighted on the company’s website.

“We wanted to be in the Alliance Town Center; we know all the synergy is there, and the new growth and new development right off the highway,” Saunders said.

Nearby, Parkside at Alliance Town Center is being constructed adjacent to Bluestem Park, a 14-acre tract of land with trails and green space. The 30,000-square-foot project will feature even more restaurants, retail stores and the H-E-B grocery store that is scheduled to open in spring 2024.

Construction of the $24.9 million H-E-B store started in November, according to previous Community Impact reporting.

“H-E-B has had great success across Texas and is always on the lookout to expand into new and existing markets to serve more Texans,” said Mabrie Jackson, H-E-B senior director of public affairs.

Cody Thorn contributed to this report.