Denton County Commissioner’s Court passed a resolution for the funding of I-35E improvements Tuesday and accepted a ceremonial check for $1.4 billion from the Texas Department of Transportation.
The I-35E project consists of adding general-purpose lanes, managed/toll lanes, and frontage-road improvements from I-635 in Dallas County to US 380 in Denton County, approximately 28.2 miles.
The existing lanes of the highway will remain free. Phase 1 of the project will add an additional free lane each way from SH 121 to Hwy 380, as well as two reversible managed/toll lanes from LBJ to Swisher/Turbeville Roads. Phase 1 also includes the expansion of the Lewisville Lake Bridge.
Denton County has worked the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), the Regional Transportation Council (RTC), and multiple regional partners to make cooperative decisions to secure funding for the I-35E project.
“The entire court is excited to see this project move forward,” said Denton County Judge Mary Horn. “We have been working on this for more than a decade and it’s long overdue.”
In 2004, Denton County voters approved more than $50 million toward the construction of I-35E. The Commissioner’s Court worked with RTC to maximize the availability of multiple funding sources, including the use of the county’s Regional Toll Revenue funds. In 2012, the final funding for phase 1 was in place.
Recently, Denton County has worked with TxDOT and the RTC to fund additional options to get the most project for the available funds and to secure a portion of the funding to provide certainty to property owners along the corridor.
“It’s been an honor to work with our partners at the federal, state, and regional level to identify the funding for this project,” said Andy Eads, Denton County Commissioner and the court’s representative to the RTC. “We also appreciate the voters of Denton County who approved the 2004 and 2008 bond elections that provided seed money for this project.”
In December 2012, the Texas Transportation Commission made a conditional award of a design-build contract to AGL Constructors for the project, subject to certain conditions.
The conditional award includes a base project for which funding has been identified for $980 million for construction and right-of-way acquisition. Funding has also been identified for TxDOT to add seven optional improvements, with a total cost of $285.3 million for construction and right-of-way.
The additional options for I-35E include: the I-635 interchange, Belt Line Road main lane improvements, the Dickerson Parkway interchange, Corinth Parkway interchange, collector-distributor roads in the SH 121/President George Bush Turnpike area, direct connector ramps between I-35E and SH 121 on the north side, and the Post Oak Drive interchange.
These options will make an already ambitious project that much better in its ability to alleviate congestion in the corridor, according to county officials.
The project is scheduled to start this month and be complete in late 2016. A website will be set up for motorists to keep track of lane closures and see how the project is progressing.