By Gilma Avalos


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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Long before rush hour, drivers exiting at Parker Road off the Dallas North Tollway, experience congestion.

Orange barrels dotting the roadways have become an all too familiar sight in North Texas.

“Oh yay! more barrels! I can’t wait,” said resident Pam Dagen sarcastically.

On Wednesday, the North Texas Tollway Authority board unanimously approved to move projects forward — some already in the works — to improve congestion.

It’s that kind of congestion that keeps residents like Dagen off the road.

“People aren’t nice; if you need to get in the other lane they don’t let you. So it’s every man for himself,” she said.

When these improvement projects are completed, the North Dallas Tollway from the LBJ Expressway to the Sam Rayburn Tollway will see an additional lane.

An additional lane will be added to the President George Bush Turnpike between State Highway 78 and Interstate 35E.

Some of the work on all the projects is already underway. The long term improvements happening in stages.

Michael Rey with the NTTA says the road is a breathing, living element. As communities continue to grow, so must the roadways.

“We built it for traffic loads predicted years ago. Those traffic loads have materialized. Now we are widening to increase our traffic capacity into the future,” said Rey.

“There’s always a lane closed and everyone’s late for work. It’s always an inconvenience,” said Vernon Bantum who lives in a location where construction has already started.

“I live two blocks away, normally it would take you 5 minutes to get to Walmart, now it’s 10,” he said.

Bantam is getting a trim at Roosters Men’s Grooming Center in Plano, where the owner says other customers share his pain.
But many, including Bantun believe the improvements are a necessary inconvenience.

“It has the be done,” he says.

A big improvement is also slated to come for the interchange between the President George Bush Turnpike and the North Dallas Tollway. It is a well known bottle neck point for commuters.

“There’s weaving going on right now that we’re going to eliminate and this should help traffic flow through the interchange much better in the future,” Rey says.

Parts of the Dallas North Tollway have already been reduced to speed limits of 60 miles an hour for the duration of the project, as crews work in the area.

The NTTA is asking drivers for patience during improvements that should continue through the end of the decade. It is also asking them to be attentive on the roads.

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