Though it’ll be months until ground is broken on the project, work continues on the expansion of Interstate 35E.
Meetings with cities along the corridor and preparation of documents for potential development firms have been a steady item on the agenda of work to be done in preparation for expansion.
“The intent is to have the developer selected by November and contracted by the first quarter of 2013, so they can begin working on the project,” Denton County transportation consultant John Polster said.
Polster said final requests for proposals for interested construction firms to bid on will go out by the end of July, at the latest.
“You should see them starting work in various areas of the 35 [corridor] very quickly since it is a design-build,” he said.
Construction is expected to take four years.
The project was approved back in March when members of the Senate Bill 1420 Committee — a requirement of the bill that authorizes the use of public-private partnerships to fund the expansion of a 28-mile stretch of I-35E between Denton and Dallas — unanimously voted for the final draft of the expansion project for the highway.
The first phase of the project will reportedly add one general-purpose lane in each direction from Interstate 635 to U.S. Highway 380; rebuild high-occupancy lanes into two reversible managed toll lanes between I-635 and Loop 288; build new southbound frontage roads, general-purpose lanes and managed lanes across Lewisville Lake; and move northbound traffic to the existing bridge.
In addition, Polster said officials were meeting with leaders from the cities along the corridor “to make sure that Phase 1 plans are acceptable [regarding] what the cities along the corridor understand what they are going to get in that phase.”
With the approval of the proposal to widen I-35E, Texas Department of Transportation officials made it known they will expand the often-congested highway within the boundaries of their existing rights of way as much as possible, saving scores of businesses and residences from being pushed out at one time, officials have said.
The project is estimated to cost $1.5 billion.
BJ LEWIS can be reached at 940-566-6875. His e-mail address is email@example.com.