DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A North Texas freeway that frustrates thousands of drivers daily is one step closer to a major overhaul.

TxDOT is giving the green light to accept bids from private firms to expand I-35 E from 635 LBJ in Dallas to Highway 380 in Denton. The move comes after the North Texas Tollway Authority recently decided not to take on the project because of the anticipated multi-billion dollar price tag.

Now, with a private firm, TxDOT’s Mark Pettit says the improvements will happen much like the LBJ and North Tarrant Express projects with a combination of free and toll lanes.

KRLD’s Matt Thomas Reports:

“We’ll get the qualifications, those qualifications will be analyzed and a short list will basically be developed of teams that are capable of pulling this off,” Pettit said.

There is no firm timeline for collecting bids, and improvements are still years away, but Pettit says the action out of Austin does finally get the ball rolling. This will likely be the largest toll project in North Texas history.