ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) — Do you think North Texas needs another toll road? It seems officials in Arlington do. The city is pressing the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and the North Texas Tollway Authority (NTTA) to help alleviate a trouble spot in the city.
There are plans to make Highway 360 a toll road, south of Interstate-20 running down to Highway 287 past Mansfield.
“I don’t know how it will work, going down a free road and all the sudden there’s a toll booth or toll electronic booth,” admitted Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck. “Anyway it will work I don’t care. Just get it built! It’s important to us.”
City leaders say the road is important because right now Highway 360 dead-ends into access roads. The sudden change causes huge back ups all the way to I-20.
“Mornings, busy hours, you could wait 40 minutes from I-20,” SH 360 driver Blair Counts said frustrated. “So, anything that’ll speed that up would be a great benefit.”
The plans are for TxDOT to extend 360 south to 287, and then the NTTA would take over and run the stretch of highway as a toll road.
Arlington’s mayor says the city has been asking for an extension of 360 for at least seven years, but has been frustrated by TxDOT and NTTA delays. Mayor Cluck says their hopes for improving SH 360 have shrunk along with state budgets and growing delays in construction.
Initially the city and state talked about improving 360 all the way north to DFW Airport. But now, Arlington has all but abandoned any hope of the state improving traffic flow there.
Mayor Cluck said, “I don’t see that happening any time soon. Seems like a lot of those plans now are on serious hold.”
Now the Arlington City Council will vote on a resolution saying it’s in favor of going forward with the 360 expansion to the south.
The vote is one of the few ways the city has to show the state it wants something done on the highway — sooner rather than later. “We’ll keep trying until something happens,” Cluck said. “I know there is a money shortage. NTTA and TxDOT both have a whole lot more projects they need to do that they can’t for a lack of funds. But let’s get something going here.”
If construction on the 360 tollway was to get underway quickly it was planned for completion in early 2015. Now that there’s talk of more budget worries and disagreements between the NTTA and TxDOT, some are predicting delays in the project of months or even years.
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