NORTH TARRANT EXPRESS 35W OPENS AHEAD OF SCHEDULE
FORT WORTH, Texas –The final reconstruction phase of the $1.6 billion North Tarrant Express (NTE) I-35W project is concluding and the last TEXpress Lanes are ready to open. NTE Mobility Partners (NTEMP) with North Tarrant Infrastructure (NTI) and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) announced the two month early opening at a media briefing, on Wednesday, July 18. The full project corridor from the downtown I-30 interchange north to the US 287 interchange (Decatur cutoff) spans a total of 10.1 miles. Drivers now have the option to travel along the NTE TEXpress Lanes on I-35W from downtown Fort Worth to North Tarrant Parkway. The newly designed corridor connects to the North Tarrant Express project along I-820 (North Loop) and SH-121/183 (Airport Freeway) adding an additional 13-miles to the NTE TEXpress Lanes in Northeast Tarrant County.
The North Tarrant Express and I-35W are examples of public-private partnership prijects in the state of Texas.. Since 2009, the NTE has leveraged limited public dollars into more than $4 billion of new infrastructure development in Tarrant County alone. Throughout the North Texas region, more than 75 miles of TEXpress Lanes (tolled express lanes) and Express/HOV Lanes have been built and are currently operational. Another 60 miles are under construction or in procurement. The P3 agreements transfer risk to the private sector, allowing the state to save hundreds of millions of dollars in ongoing maintenance costs while enjoying the benefits of new corridors, years before traditional funding would even be available.
“We have been honored to partner with the State of Texas and the people of North Texas in helping build out a network of express and managed lanes throughout the region to provide congestion relief and faster commutes,” explained Alberto Gonzalez, Chief Executive Officer of NTEMP. “We will continue working with TxDOT and the regional transportation planners to enhance the effectiveness of the new highway system in order to positively impact economic development and quality of life.”
Breaking ground in May 2014, the I-35W project reached substantial completion, two months ahead of schedule. A unique design-build process, in which the project is being designed and built concurrently, shaved several years from the project schedule. North Tarrant Infrastructure, a joint venture between Ferrovial Agroman and Webber, managed the design and construction and through a very aggressive prevention program have a safety incident rate of 0.8 which is well below the 3.4 national average with over 8 million man hours worked.
“We are excited to deliver the project ahead of schedule having utilized more than 810 Texas based companies,” said Miguel Alonso, Chief Executive Officer for NTI, the project contractor. “We are proud of our team of dedicated employees and local subcontractors and look forward to working on more projects in North Texas very soon.”
The 60-year-old infrastructure makeover included the complete reconstruction of frontage roads, general highway lanes and the addition of two TEXpress Lanes (managed lanes) in each direction. Along with the completion of the other two segments of I-35W project opening earlier this year and in 2017, the final reconstruction phase will provide congestion relief throughout the corridor, with added capacity from with auxillary and bypass lanes, longer weaving distances, expanded frontage roads even in peak hours on I-35W, once ranked the 23rd most congested roadway in Texas.
The opening of I-35W features new ramps and additional connections to and from the general highway lanes and the TEXpress Lanes. Drivers can choose to use the rebuilt general highway, bypass and frontage roads at no charge, or utilize the TEXpress Lanes for a fast, direct and reliable commute, as they travel this portion of Tarrant County.
NTEMP and NTI are working with TxDOT and the Regional Transportation Council of the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NTCOG) to finalize a plan that will continue the progress of I-35W north well into Denton County near Texas Motor Speedway.
Ongoing construction information can be found at www.texpresslanes.com/current-projects/nte-texpress-lanes/
Specific information regarding the TEXpress Lanes can be located at www.texpresslanes.com