New DFW Connector project aims to reduce SH 121 bottleneck

A new SH 121 interchange at FM 2499 will be constructed as part of the upcoming $370 million project.

A new SH 121 interchange at FM 2499 will be constructed as part of the upcoming $370 million project.

Image description
DFW Connector
Image description
DFW Connector
Image description
DFW Connector Timeline
With the expectation that SH 121 traffic near Grapevine Mills will nearly double by 2025, work begins in July to relieve bottlenecks that commonly occur along 3 miles of the roadway.

The $370 million Texas Department of Transportation project includes rebuilding and widening SH 121 north of the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport to accommodate new interchanges for SH 121 at I-635 and FM 2499. The Bass Pro Drive bridge in Grapevine will also be widened to six lanes and reconstructed along with the frontage roads. The project is expected to be complete in 2022.

Texas Transportation Commission Chair J. Bruce Bugg Jr. said the project will improve mobility for drivers who travel through the SH 121 bottleneck between I-635 and FM 2499.

“Projects like the SH 121 project will improve drive times, reduce costs and improve quality of life for our Texas drivers,” Bugg said. “Texas’ legislative leadership and TxDOT’s Transportation Commission are committed to reducing congestion.”

Part of the DFW Connector

The upcoming interchange project and several other unaddressed projects were originally part of the DFW Connector, which overhauled and widened SH 114 and SH 121. The projects were delayed when only $1 billion was made available for the $1.6 billion Connector.

In 2015 Gov. Greg Abbott called on the Texas Transportation Commission to develop a focused initiative—called Texas Clear Lanes—to address the most congested chokepoints in Texas. Bugg then met with transportation leaders and elected officials in the state’s five major metropolitan areas. Those listening tours and collaborative efforts with metropolitan planning organizations and TxDOT districts helped shape this Texas Clear Lanes initiative.

Through the Texas Clear Lanes initiative, funding was found for the interchange project in 2017.

Impact on drivers

Although the project limits fall within Grapevine, Flower Mound-bound drivers will benefit from the FM 2499 interchange as the new interchange, which leads drivers into Flower Mound, will be widened, according to TxDOT spokesperson Michael Peters.

Flower Mound resident and former Council Member Don McDaniel said this project is beneficial as traffic will continue to increase on FM 2499 in the coming years.

“As the number of cars on 2499 increases with the connection to 35E at the north end and the continued growth of our northern neighbors, the throughput of this roadway will become increasingly important,” he said. “Removing the restriction at 121 and at the eastbound connection to 635 are critical aspects of this plan.”

Many area residents told Community Impact Newspaper they are unhappy about having to endure four more years of construction after continuous work since 2010 on SH 121, which many motorists use to reach Dallas.

Lewisville resident Michael Daly said he was hoping TxDOT would wait a little longer before work began in the area as it wasn’t too long ago that FM 2499 main lanes were reconfigured. The FM 2499 project, which also included adding frontage roads and rebuilding intersections, started in 2013 and ended in 2016.

“They just finished the FM 2499 project and SH 121 project,” Daly said. “Now they want to tear it all up and do it again.

SH 121 between Star and Stripes Way in Grapevine and the Business SH 121 split in Lewisville was recently widened to 10 lanes. The project began in March 2014 and was substantially completed in January of this year.

An alternative route

With 119,000 vehicles per day traveling on this segment of SH 121, Peters said drivers will more than likely be looking for alternative routes.

But TxDOT does not have any suggested alternative routes to avoid construction, Peters said, however, the state agency will limit its impact as much as possible on drivers.

“There will be lane closures necessary for construction,” he said. “To minimize the impact to the traveling public, lane closures will not be scheduled during commute times, but instead will be scheduled at night or off-peak travel times. When necessary, traffic will be detoured to an alternate route.”

Peters said TxDOT will also coordinate with holidays and special events.

For Flower Mound residents seeking some relief from FM 2499, there may be hope in the future.

Flower Mound Public Works Executive Director Tiffany Bruce said the town’s thoroughfare plan includes proposals to widen Lakeside Parkway so it can be used as an alternative route and direct connection to SH 121.

“The town has identified Lakeside Parkway as an excellent east-west connector and it is identified as a major arterial on our thoroughfare plan,” Bruce said. “The town has identified it as a future project due to funding constraints.”
By


MOST RECENT

Artio Birth Care is now open and offering childbirth classes in Lewisville. (Courtesy Artio Birth Care)
Artio Birth Care now offering childbirth classes in Lewisville

The education center offers a series of classes and groups for people preparing for childbirth.

D'Ambrosio's #1 Pizza Pub will offer customers a friendly environment to enjoy a more contemporary style of Chicago deep-dish pizza. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
D'Ambrosio's pizzeria opens in Grapevine and more DFW news

Read the latest business and community news from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced a COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan for the state Nov. 23 for a vaccine he said could be available as soon as December. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announces COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan

The vaccine could start being distributed "as early as next month," according to a Nov. 23 news release.

Flower Mound's economic development director is leaving the town staff for an opportunity in nearby Bedford. (Photo by Anna Herod/Community Impact Newspaper)
Flower Mound economic development director accepts new job with city of Bedford

Flower Mound’s Andrea Roy is moving on from the town staff after accepting a job in a nearby city.

texas health breeze urgent care concierge desk
New urgent care center in McKinney, plus four more DFW-area business updates

Here are five businesses that opened recently in the Greater Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Schools now have the power to temporarily suspend on-campus instruction if “a significant number of the instructional staff at the campus is impacted due to a confirmed COVID-19 outbreak." (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Texas Education Agency authorizes schools to close doors for 14 days due to coronavirus-related staffing concerns

Campuses can now instate a hybrid or fully remote instruction model for up to 14 days if adequate instructional staffing is not possible due to high numbers of COVID-19 cases among employees.

Lewisville ISD's superintendent has asked the state to cancel the December STAAR exams, citing the difficulty of safely administering the tests. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
'A serious risk': Citing health, Lewisville ISD superintendent asks state to cancel December STAAR tests

Lewisville ISD’s top administrator asked the state to cancel end-of-course examinations next month, arguing the district may struggle to ensure the safety of students and staff on campus.

Dozens of sites in North Texas are offering COVID-19 testing. (Community Impact staff)
Free COVID-19 testing available ahead of holiday gatherings

As the holiday season approaches, health officials are warning social gatherings could increase the spread of COVID-19.

Over 60 elected representatives in Texas have written the Texas Education Agency to request the state cancel STAAR testing for the 2020-21 school year. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Texas state representatives call for cancellation of STAAR test administration for 2020-21 school year

Over 60 state representatives have requested that the Texas Education Agency cancel the STAAR test for the 2020-21 school year.

Council Member Ann Martin recites the oath of office Nov. 16 after she defeated incumbent Claudio Forest and earned a seat on the Flower Mound Town Council. (Screenshot from town of Flower Mound video)
Sharma, Martin sworn in as Flower Mound council shifts further from dense residential planning

Both Flower Mound results represented a victory for skeptics of dense residential development.

Lululemon is now open at the Tanger Outlets in north Fort Worth. (Courtesy Lululemon)
Lululemon opens at Tanger Outlets in Fort Worth and more DFW news

Read the latest business and community news from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Houston-based developer Hines is planning to build a business park on this property in Lewisville. (Screenshot from Google Maps)
Developer plans Lewisville business park off Round Grove Road

The Bison Grove Business Park is expected to include 883,000 square feet of space and cost more than $32 million to build.