Commuters may get a pass until after New Year’s on construction on Interstate 35E.
Crews have begun preparatory work on the frontage roads up and down I-35E to pave the way for the heavy work to come, but construction is not expected to begin until after the first of theyear.
“We do have work going on along the frontage road at Mayhill and I-35E and if you look at U.S. 77 and Pennsylvania, they have been doing some clearing and grubbing road work,” said Kimberly Sims, public information officer for the 35Express.
“If there are trees and shrubs and grass that need to be removed, that’s what that is, making that area workable,” she said. “We will probably see a lot more construction work after the first of the year; right now everything is the prep.”
The $1.4 billion, 30-mile expansion project will add general-purpose lanes, managed toll lanes and frontage road improvements from Interstate 635 in Dallas County to U.S. Highway380 in Denton.
Existing lanes of the highway will remain free. But during Phase 1 of the project, which is set to be completed by mid-2017, an additional free lane will be added each way from State Highway 121 to U.S. 380, as well as two reversible managed lanes from I-635 to an area around Swisher and Turbeville roads. Phase 1 includes the expansion of the Lewisville Lake bridge.
In the meantime, Sims said a steady stream of people have been contacting the 35 Express information center,located at 2420 S. Stemmons Freeway in Lewisville, asking questions about the Project, seeking details about the project and whether their property will be effect, and wondering when the construction could begin impacting their commute.
“Some of them have received some miscommunication and things have changed,” Sims said.
The only question the Texas Department of Transportation is slow to answer is specifics on construction start times. Sims said once they get more information, they will push it out to the public.
The goal is to have a 30-day outlook listed online, which Sims described as “a place where people can see we will be doing XYZ in this time frame, [to know] ‘I need to start to get ready or ‘I may need to adjust my route or the time I leave in the morning.’ Those things are coming.”
Another thing coming from TxDOT are meetings of the business task force groups, which will begin the first week in December. There will be a time for business owners to be involved with the project and talk more specifics about schedule, impact and how TxDOT and the businesses can help each other.
“We will be doing door-to-door outreach and partnering with the chamber to get the word out,”Sims said.
BJ LEWIS can be reached at940-566-6875 and via Twitter at @BjlewisDRC.