DFW CONNECTOR UPDATE: NorthGate anticipates opening of three major bridges by year's end

FM 1709/Northwest Highway bridge set for August

Since construction fo r the 8.4-mile DFW Connector project kicked off in early 2010, drivers traveling along Hwys. 121 and 114 have endured a variety of navigation and congestion challenges.

The estimated $1.1 billion project was 67 percent complete at the end of June, though, and after more than two years of construction, NorthGate Constructors has some good news for drivers.

"By the end of the year, we hope to be 85 percent complete," spokeswoman Kristen Schropp said. "This fall and winter we have so many pieces of work opening, which is great because those new pieces of construction will be open to traffic."

Two major structures opened this spring near the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport: the northbound International Parkway to eastbound Hwy. 114 ramp, and the westbound Hwy. 114 to southbound International Parkway bridge.

"The new ramp makes it easier for people to exit the DFW Airport," Schropp said. "The other bridge would make it easier for people to get into the airport from the east."

Several significant openings in the heart of the project are planned for the coming months.

Coming soon

Traffic flow between Southlake and Grapevine will improve once the new Northwest Highway/FM 1709 bridge is opened to two-way traffic by the end of August, Schropp said.

Also anticipated to open around August is a southbound Hwy. 121 to westbound Hwy. 114 bridge near the DFW Airport.

"This bridge will alleviate congestion north of the DFW Airport and allow people to move more safely from southbound 121 to westbound Hwy. 114," Schropp said.

Crews are also working this summer on paving the second half of the expanded William D. Tate bridge, which is expected to open before Halloween.

Main Street bridge

While paving for the Main Street bridge finished last year, crews continue to work on drainage, grading and pavement issues at the northeast corner of Main Street and Hwy. 114.

NorthGate's construction schedule was delayed earlier this spring after workers discovered contaminated soil while installing waterlines in the area of the Chevron/McDonald's and Wells Fargo Bank.

The contamination, which they determined was caused by an oil spill that occurred decades ago, forced crews to change the alignment of the waterlines and wrap them in steel.

If work goes smoothly, Main Street bridge and its intersections will be completed before Thanksgiving, Schropp said.

"I think drivers will be thrilled when Main Street and William D. Tate are opened, because they will easily be able to travel through the City of Grapevine," she said.

Looking ahead

To ease traffic congestion at William D. Tate Avenue, crews are building two direct connectors. A northbound Hwy. 121 to westbound Hwy. 114 direct connector and an eastbound Hwy. 114 to southbound Hwy. 121 direct connector are anticipated to open in mid-2013.

Workers are also expanding Texan Trail to three lanes in each direction. NorthGate hopes to open that bridge in mid-2013.

Crews have already started paving westbound Hwy. 114 from International Parkway to Main Street, which will be completed next year. During the last quarter of 2012, NorthGate will also start paving eastbound Hwy. 114 from FM 1709 to Main Street.

"It is really hard to imagine what it is going to look like and how great it is going to be during this time of construction, because it requires closures and detours," Schropp said. "But in the long term it is going to benefit the local economy, especially the surrounding cities."

For up-to-date news about road closures and traffic switches, visit www.dfwconnector.com.



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