DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – Hundreds of millions of your tax dollars are headed back to North Texas in the form of state highway money to fund much-needed repairs and expansions.
It’s all from a 2007 bond fund. And for some Dallas drivers, it can’t come soon enough.
“Anything that comes along that will help make less congestion and traffic will help us,” said Bill Goss, as he gassed up at the Fuel City Depot on Riverfront Boulevard just south of Downtown Dallas.
Goss tries to avoid Dallas’ notorious Mixmaster during rush hours. It’s where interstates 30 and 35E come together. Big rig driver Zachary DuBose has to drive it, and is more blunt. “It sucks. The congestion sucks,” he said.
But some help is on the horizon. Part of the Mixmaster called the “horseshoe” is now partially funded and officially on track for bridge repair, widening, and the addition of managed lanes.
“That’s one of our top projects and it was specifically named to receive a little more than $500 million towards the total cost, which is $818 million,” said Texas Department of Transportation spokeswoman Michelle Releford.
Dameian Price, another Dallas driver, looks forward to the improvements. “I think it’ll help with the congestion as far as lunch time and people going home from work and such.”
Dallas’ horseshoe may be the biggest headache, but it’s not the only one being addressed. US 75 in Collin County is set to be widened all the way to Melissa, for instance.
In Tarrant County, State Highway 121 from FM 2499 to LBJ is set to go to six lanes. But one highway that’s not part of the project is I-35E from Carrollton to Denton. “That is already being pursued as a public-private partnership,” adds Releford.
Back at the Mixmaster, one local business owner is glad improvements are coming, even if construction will inconvenience it for many months. “It’s good that something’s happening,” said Parker Benda of Fuel City, adding, “these bridges are so old and we’ve known for many, many years that something was coming, so I’m glad to see it looks like it was fast-tracked and at least for sure the project will get started.”
But Benda calls it just a first step. And he says during any construction, his business will likely suffer. “You always worry about access. If people can’t come in that’s a really bad thing. Short term, you really don’t know, however, because you have more traffic on Riverfront, but then again it’s more chaotic. So you may get more people stopping everyday than normal, but your everyday customers aren’t going to want the hassle. So, it’s a mixed bag.”
TX DOT says the first projects should be getting underway during the summer of 2012.