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DALLAS (CBS11) – The infamous stretch of highway just south of Downtown Dallas has earned the nickname ‘Dead Man’s Curve.’ It is where US 175 at CF Hawn Freeway makes a hairpin turn to head east.

Now, a $200 million TxDOT project aims to give the area a re-do that’s been decades overdue.

“I’ve had about five close calls right there,” said Jay Scroggins. “There’s wrecks there almost every day.”

Scroggins is the head of the South Dallas Fair Park Public Improvement District.

He said he was thrilled to see the dirt finally begin to move on the project, saying the community had complained for years. But, fixing the curve was not the only item on the community’s wish list.

“This is the most impoverished zip code in Texas, so we wanted jobs,” said Scroggins.

Community meetings led to the creation of a pilot project called ‘Road to Work.’

“The whole intent was to get jobs and contracts and here it is two years later, and a couple of months ago, Webber had only hired two people from the community,” said Scroggins. “This area needs economic development! It does no good to put a new road, if we still are going to have the same amount of poverty.”

Long-time residents in South Dallas tell CBS11 the ill-conceived design of the freeway a half century ago contributed to the area’s decline. The freeway became a concrete knife, slicing the community in half.

“TxDOT is hoping that once this is finished, that it will be a catalyst for economic development in this area and it will bring this community back together, as a whole,” said Michelle Raglon of TxDOT.

The road project is being built in phases with a targeted completion date of 2022.

In addition to removing the hairpin curve, a low speed, landscaped, six lane boulevard is intended to encourage visitors and economic development. And yet, many in South Dallas are looking for the economic impact to begin right now—with jobs.

“They could definitely be doing more for the community, but, if they would just do what they said they would do, that would be enough,” said Scroggins.

 Calls to the project’s contractor, Webber, were not returned. 

According to TxDOT, Webber will provide a report next month on their hiring efforts.

The agency, to date, is aware of 144 applicants, of which five have been hired.

According Raglon, TxDOT is hoping more local employees will be hired, but stressing that it is still early in the project.