In February, the Texas Department of Transportation began its long-awaited project to widen the road from its existing four main lanes to up to 12 main lanes. When complete in early 2024, the existing Hwy. 146 bridge will have three lanes in each direction. There will also be an express bridge that will run along the existing bridge’s west side that will include four main lanes that will allow motorists to bypass local traffic.
The $201 million project is split into four phases. Phase 1 is ahead of schedule, and Phase 2 began early, TxDOT engineer Scott Walker wrote in an email to Community Impact Newspaper.
Phase 1 includes widening the northbound side of the existing bridge and adding a 14-foot bike path on the east side of the bridge. That work is about halfway complete and should be done by spring 2020, Walker wrote. A year ago, TxDOT expected Phase 1 would finish up in fall 2020.
Phase 2, which includes widening the southbound side of the existing bridge and starting work on the express bridge, essentially began in February with Phase 1. Originally, Phase 2 was expected to start in fall 2020 after the completion of Phase 1 and take two years to complete.
Despite Phase 2 starting early, it is expected to wrap up by its original estimated time frame of fall 2022. It is too early to tell if starting Phase 2 ahead of schedule will mean the overall project will finish before February 2024 as originally scheduled.
“I’ll wait to see if this work will put us ahead,” Walker wrote.
Throughout 2020, motorists can expect two lanes open in each direction most of the time, and that expectation will continue through Phase 2. By the end of the year, Phase 1 will long have been complete, Walker wrote.
Phase 3, which includes widening the north and south sides of Hwy. 146 leading up to the bridge, will start after the completion of Phase 2 and take a year to complete. The final phase, which will take six months, will start after Phase 3 and includes finishing up work on the express bridge.
Hwy. 146 could one day connect the north side of the Grand Parkway to the south side, which has yet to be completed. The roads would serve as evacuation routes.