I-35E art adds custom touch

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For the DRC
Barron Ludlum/For the DRC
Drivers on Interstate 35E roll past a mural depicting a lake scene on a retaining wall along the southbound lanes just south of the Lewisville Lake bridge near the Garden Ridge Boulevard exit on Monday.

As the 35Express project nears completion, drivers may start to notice more artwork along portions of Interstate 35E.

The Texas Department of Transportation, AGL Constructors and local municipalities have been working together to create custom designs and color patterns on a few retaining walls throughout the corridor.

One of the decorative murals can be found just south of the Lewisville Lake bridge near the Garden Ridge Boulevard exit. Fish, ducks and sailboats have been fabricated into the wall to simulate a lake scene. In Hickory Creek, the mural designs will illustrate a wooded area with detailed tree designs.

C.J. Schexnayder, a 35Express spokesman, said the entire 30-mile project between U.S. Highway 380 in Denton and Interstate 635 in Dallas follows a specific aesthetic theme, and each of the eight cities along the corridor can choose to customize retaining walls.

“These are gateways to all these cities, and that’s why the cities took an active role,” he said.

He said each mural is comprised of about 20 5-foot panels, which are made in a factory in Denton. After each panel has been placed, construction crews paint the wall.

“We make thousands and thousands of panels, but the ones that go on these specific walls are made with designs,” he said.

Schexnayder said recent rain has affected portions of the project in Denton. Additional lanes on the North Texas Boulevard bridge are scheduled to open in May, and drivers should expect two lanes in each direction, he said.

McCormick Street, which has been closed between the north and southbound frontage roads, will likely remain closed until March, he said.

According to the project’s 30-day outlook, which is available on 35express.org, the southbound entrance ramp from U.S. 77/Dallas Drive is scheduled to reopen this month. But work lengthening and widening the entrance and exit ramps between Fort Worth Drive and Teasley Lane is expected to continue into spring.

Until then, traffic will continue to use the temporary ramps.

JULIAN GILL can be reached at 940-566-6882 and via Twitter at @juliangillmusic.

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