The DFW Connector project has been a long time coming in north Texas, according to Alyssa Tenorio, public information manager for NorthGate Constructors, the joint venture that served as general contractor on the $1.02 billion undertaking. “The Texas Department of Transportation had been trying to do a similar project for years, but the funding just wasn’t there until 2009,” Tenorio told ROADS & BRIDGES.
The area comprises the four most populous counties in Texas and sits near the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, making it an important transportation hub for the state.
The DFW Connector project’s goal is to rebuild portions of four highways, two interchanges and five bridges. State highways 114 and 121 have been the center of attention throughout the project, which was 94% complete at press time and scheduled for full completion by the end of September.
In the end, NorthGate Constructors and TxDOT hope to at least double, and potentially triple, traffic-flow capacity for the whole area.
Construction also will add a new series of managed toll lanes, the funding from which will help with continued operation and maintenance of the highway, and new frontage roads. In total, the DFW Connector will be as wide as 24 lanes.
Much of the work was done during off-peak hours, keeping all lanes of traffic open during the day with full closures at night and on weekends. All concrete for the main highways was batched on-site with a Rexcon Model S batch plant. The contract also called for recycling of the existing concrete for reuse as the roadway base; Northgate utilized a Caterpillar concrete crusher to accomplish the task.
Productivity took a hit—literally—when an excavator from an unrelated construction site collided with one of the girders on the Texan Trail bridge over S.H. 114 in the early months of 2012. “You just never know what’s going to happen,” Tenorio said about the incident.
The bridge had already been scheduled for a rebuild, so the incident actually allowed crews to expedite the process. The unaffected side of the bridge was open to traffic just two weeks later.
Local, state and federal officials including Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez were on-hand for a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the DFW Connector in late August. As of press time, some small finishing details were still needed on S.H. 26, including new curbs, islands, paving and traffic signals. R&B