The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) just broke ground on a major project in Tarrant County that is going to affect drivers for the next few years.
The Southeast Connector Project will rebuild and widen approximately 11 miles of I-20 and I-820.
The project will represent the largest investment in transportation infrastructure in the history of TxDOT’s Fort Worth district, coming in at $1.6 billion.
Crews will widen I-20 to 10 main lanes from I-820 to US 287, and I-820 to eight main lanes from I-20 to Spur 303 (Rosedale Street) and reconstruct the I-20, I-820, and US 287 interchanges.
TxDOT officials say the goal is to make merging easier, improve safety, and help traffic flow better.
“This highly anticipated project will tie in the east and southeast part of Tarrant County to the central part of the county while relieving congestion. It’s not only important for Tarrant County and Fort Worth, but also facilitates trade, increases safety, and improves efficiency for the entire Metroplex,” TxDOT officials said in a press release.
Wednesday's groundbreaking at a site near I-820 was attended by Texas Transportation Commission Chairman J. Bruce Bugg Jr., Texas Transportation Commissioner Robert Vaughn, State Rep. Nicole Collier, Tarrant County Judge B. Glen Whitley and other regional leaders.
Chairman Bugg and Commissioner Vaughn headed to Dallas in the afternoon where they were also joined by State Senator Royce West, Mayor Eric Johnson, County Judge Clay Jenkins and others to cut the ribbon on the Southern Gateway project in southern Dallas.
The five-year, $666 million project rebuilt and widened I-35E from Colorado Blvd. to US 67 and widened US 67 from I-35E to I-20, while also constructing a non-tolled reversible managed lane section.
Val Lopez, spokesperson for TxDOT Fort Worth District, explained why projects like these are becoming more common.
"These large projects represent real progress and meeting the demands of North Texas as far as transportation, as far as commuters trying to get to where they're going. We are trying very hard to relieve congestion and we're building quite aggressively,” he said.