After 15 years of planning and coordination to expand one of the state’s most congested highways, the Texas Department of Transportation today broke ground on the Interstate 35E widening project with a ceremony at Copperas Branch Park in Highland Village.
Dubbed 35Express, the 28-mile expansion will enlarge the interstate’s footprint from US 380 in Denton County to I-635 in Dallas County. Up to 210,000 vehicles per day travel the highway.
The 35Express project includes a combination of general-purpose lanes, managed/toll lanes, and frontage-road improvements that when completed will save motorists approximately 1.7 million hours in travel time per year.
“TxDOT is proud to deliver another public-private partnership project that will enhance safety and improve mobility for hundreds of thousands of motorists each day,” said Phil Wilson, TxDOT executive director.
The 35Express project runs through eight cities in Denton and Dallas counties, including Denton, Corinth, Lake Dallas, Hickory Creek, Highland Village, Lewisville, Carrollton and Farmers Branch.
The $4.8 billion project is being constructed in two phases, the first of which will cost approximately $1.4 billion in federal, state and local dollars as well as toll fees collected from Hwy 121. The second phase will be constructed when funding becomes available.
“This is an exciting time for Denton county residents,” said Denton County Judge Mary Horn. “The I-35E expansion represents the beginning of the one project that links every major roadway in Denton County. Roadways like FM 1171, FM 2181, FM 407, FM 2499 are all being constructed, expanded and/or refurbished as a result of the incredible partnership we’ve had with our federal, state and regional partners. The I-35E project will not only improve mobility within the county, but also within the region as well.”
The first phase of construction is scheduled for later this month and includes the addition of north and southbound general purpose lanes, reversible managed lanes and the expansion, reconditioning or reconstruction of multiple bridges. Phase I construction is expected to be completed by early 2017. Highlights of the project include:
• Construction of a new southbound bridge across Lake Lewisville and the addition of frontage roads and a shared path for pedestrians and cyclists
• Widening of the bridges at Post Oak Road and Corinth Parkway
• Reconstruction of the bridges at Garden Ridge Boulevard and FM 407
• Additional direct connect ramps at the I-35E – Sam Rayburn Tollway (121) interchange
• Reconstruction of the Belt Line Road interchange
For the latest information on construction and traffic changes, and to keep up with the progress of the project, check the website at www.35express.org.