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 Sherelle Black
Sherelle joined Community Impact Newspaper in July 2014 as a reporter for the Grapevine/Colleyville/Southlake edition. She was promoted in 2015 to editor of the GCS edition. In August 2017, Sherelle became the editor of the Lewisville/Flower Mound/Highland Village edition. Sherelle covers transportation, economic development, education and features.


MOST RECENT

A LongHorn Steakhouse was expected to open in early 2020 at The Citadel development near I-35W and Heritage Trace Parkway. The opening has been delayed, according to staff. (Ian Pribanic/Community Impact Newspaper)
Tuesday Morning bankruptcy, census data and three other DFW-area stories

Here are five recent updates from the metroplex, on delayed openings, mass layoffs and more.

Those who give blood through May 31 will receive a t-shirt by mail while supplies last. For the month of June, donators will receive a $5 Amazon gift card through email, courtesy Amazon, according to American Red Cross. (Courtesy American Red Cross)
Red Cross offers incentives for blood donations in Dallas-Fort Worth area

The American Red Cross has roughly 1,300 blood donation appointments in North Texas that need to be filled through June 15.

Dr. William Wyatt studies a dental X-ray at Flower Mound Dental. (Courtesy Flower Mound Dental)
Primary care providers in Lewisville, Flower Mound Highland Village adapt, urge patients to continue routine checkups

Local health professionals said more patients have started putting off preventive health care for fear of being exposed to the coronavirus—a trend some doctors believe is likely to cause more harm than good.

The White Rock Family YMCA in Dallas is among the seven area locations that are set to reopen at partial capacity June 1. (Courtesy YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas)
MAY 31 ROUNDUP: Business news from Dallas-Fort Worth area

Read the latest business news from Dallas-Fort Worth.

Here are the latest coronavirus updates for Denton County. (Community Impact staff)
33 new coronavirus cases reported in Denton County

The new cases of coronavirus reported on May 28 include 15 more in Lewisville and two more in Flower Mound, according to health officials.

Normally crowded toll roads are experiencing a decline in the number of motorists, according to data from the North Texas Tollway Authority. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
North Texas Tollway Authority develops plan to mitigate unprecedented loss of revenue

Money-saving tactics include an indefinite hiring freeze and the delay of some projects, according to a spokesperson.

Outdoor venues in all Texas counties will be permitted to operate at up to 25% capacity starting May 31. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Spectators to be welcomed back to Texas outdoor sporting events May 31 at 25% of venue capacity

Venue owners must operate under guidelines that facilitate appropriate social distancing.

Tuesday Morning plans to close 230 of its 687 stores in a phased approach. (Anna Lotz/Community Impact Newspaper)
Development news and other top stories from this week in DFW

Read the most popular stories so far this week from Community Impact Newspaper's Dallas-Fort Worth coverage.

Each eligible child will receive $285 in benefits. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Some Texas students eligible for one-time federal benefit to aid with food purchases

Texas received approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide more than $1 billion in pandemic food benefits.

Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar spoke to members of the Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce on May 27 about what the state's post-pandemic economic turnaround might look like. (Screenshot of May 27 virtual luncheon)
Texas comptroller predicts slow, steady economic turnaround post-pandemic

Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar said the state entered the era of the coronavirus in a healthy financial situation, which bodes well for the future as reopening continues, but that Texans are not out of the woods yet.

Nursing facilities across Texas will be able to apply for federal funds to purchase devices to connect residents to friends and family. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Gov. Greg Abbott announces $3.6 million project to connect nursing home residents to families

Gov. Greg Abbott announced May 27 that $3.6 million will be provided to nursing facilities to purchase tablets, webcams and headphones to connect residents with family members.

Here are the latest coronavirus updates for Denton County. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
30 new coronavirus cases confirmed in Denton County

Denton County Public Health announced May 27 that an additional 30 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed locally, bringing the county’s total number of cases to 1,285.