Construction Set to Begin on $1.6 Billion Highway Widening in Texas

Construction is expected to begin on the Southeast Connector highway widening project near Fort Worth in the spring and wrap up in 2027.

2 minute read

December 8, 2022, 9:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

A man operates a yellow roller to smooth out fresh pavement on a road.

Trong Nguyen / Shutterstock

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) will soon begin construction on the $1.6 billion Southeast Connector, one of the state’s largest-ever investments in transportation infrastructure. The project is intended to ease congestion and improve transportation in Tarrant County on a stretch of highway that sees about 200,000 vehicle trips a day—a number that is expected to increase to 370,000 vehicles a day by 2045.

The project will expand roughly 11 miles of Interstate 20—through Fort Worth, Arlington, Forest Hill, and Kennedale—according to an article by Sarah Bahari for the Dallas Morning News. The widening will vary by location: A stretch from I-820 to U.S. 287 will expand from eight to 10 lanes, according to Bahari. "And Interstate 820, a loop around Fort Worth, will double in capacity, from four to eight lanes."

“As part of the project, the I-20, I-820 and U.S. 287 interchanges will be rebuilt, left exits and entrance ramps will be eliminated and turnarounds will be added at all cross streets,” reports Bahari.

“These improvements will facilitate trade, increase safety and improve efficiency for North Texas,” according to a TxDOT source cited in the article.

While some states, notably Colorado and also including California, have begun to reprioritize transportation investments away from more greenhouse-gas-emissions-causing infrastructure, TxDOT is moving forward with multiple, massive highways projects, including in Austin, Houston, and another project near Fort Worth. TxDOT produced a Finding of No Significant Impact for the final Environmental Assessment published in September 2020. Texas is far from the only state committed to GHG emissions, however. Rhode Island, Maryland, Michigan, and Oregon have also made the Planetizen newsfeed in 2022 for highway widening projects.

Setting side GHG emissions, Texas is also home to one of the nation’s most infamous examples of induced demand and the futility of expanding freeway to reduce traffic congestion—the Katy Freeway in Houston. Still, Texas is deeply committed to widening roads as a response to congestion. The Southeast Connector is part of TxDOT’s “Texas Clear Lanes” congestion reduction program.

Tuesday, December 6, 2022 in The Dallas Morning News

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