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TxDOT to reveal financial details on Dallas' LBJ East highway project

TxDOT to reveal financial details on Dallas' LBJ East highway project

LBJ / 75 / north dallas skyline
LBJ & 75 look so pretty from far away. Photo courtesy of Fluor

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) will hold a public hearing to provide details of the financial arrangement for a new roadway expansion in the works called the LBJ East project.

The project will rebuild and widen the 11.2-mile stretch of I-635 starting at US 75 in North Dallas and curving east and south to I-30 in Dallas County. According to a proposal made to the North Central Texas Council of Governments, the existing facility is more than 45 years old and has exceeded its design life.

The project will:

  • include full reconstruction and widening of the highway from eight to 10 general purpose lanes. That means that LBJ's current four lanes in each direction will be expanded to five.
  • "grandfather" and permit the reconstruction of the existing one tolled-managed lane in each direction, for a total of 12 general-purpose and tolled-managed lanes.
  • build continuous frontage roads and rebuild the I-635/I-30 interchange.

As part of this project, TxDOT also is partnering with the city of Dallas to reconfigure the Skillman/Audelia interchange. That includes improving the aesthetics of the bridge over LBJ Freeway.

Streetsblog calls it a boondoggle, pointing out that adding more lanes does not improve traffic congestion. But in its favor, it will add a continuous frontage road system, which 635 in that area currently does not have, to maintain local access and provide an alternate route during incidents.

The project also includes redoing the I-635/I-30 interchange.

The project is budgeted at $1.74 billion. It was in limbo for a while in the wake of a decision by the Texas Transportation Commission to not include projects with toll roads; but that got resolved with the "grandfathering" of the toll lane that already exists.

It's expected to begin construction in early 2020 and is scheduled for substantial completion by late 2024.

So that's five years of misery for anyone in Mesquite, Garland, Far East Dallas, Casa View, Town East, and Lake Highlands. Maybe throw in Rowlett and Sunnyvale while you're at it.

Steps taken so far include choosing a developer, Pegasus Link Constructors. The design and construction will be handled by a joint venture between Fluor Corp. and Balfour Beatty Infrastructure Inc.

Dear Fluor and Balfour, when you redo the 635/30 interchange, pleeeease pretty please make it better than the horrendous 35/30 interchange, with its confusing meandering, lack of proper signage, and utter failure at successfully moving traffic from 35 to 30 East. Whoever designed that should never design roads again.

This public hearing is the final step before construction.

It will be held on July 18, at the Highlands Oaks Church of Christ, 10805 Walnut Hill Ln., with an open house from 6-7 pm and a formal presentation at 7 pm.