Reporting Jeff Ray
FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) - Construction along the Hulen Street bridge, just south of Interstate-30 in Fort Worth, has been forcing some drivers to avoid the area completely. But those days are about to be over because, this weekend, weather permitting, it is out with the old and in with the new. Workers hope to open the wider, taller Hulen Street bridge on Saturday.
For almost two years, drivers on Hulen Street have had to deal with traffic back-ups because of the bridge construction.
The old bridge was actually in the way of a new tollway being built in south Fort Worth. The six-lane Chisholm Trail Tollway is still more than a year away from opening, but it could not be completed without reworking the Hulen Street bridge. The new bridge is now 10 feet taller, which will let the tollway run underneath it without issue.
Only two northbound lanes and one southbound lane of the new Hulen Street bridge will open to traffic on Saturday. Workers are using other lanes for demolition of the 45-year-old original Hulen Street bridge. All six lanes of the new bridge will open next spring.
The Chisholm Trail Tollway starts at Interstate-30 in downtown Fort Worth and crosses one of the busiest railyards in the southwest. The tollway is set to run all the way down to Cleburne. “We are on schedule to be open in the spring of 2014 with this entire project opening in one day, 26.7 miles. One day we flip the switch and we are going both directions, from Johnson County to downtown Fort Worth,” explained Michael Rey with the North Texas Tollway Authority.
This is an expensive project. Just the path from downtown Fort Worth to Interstate-20 costs over half a billion dollars. About 50 years ago, the plan was to extend Highway 121 in the same direction, but the state never funded that project. So, the NTTA stepped in to complete the job.
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