DALLAS - At the North Central Texas Council of Governments, they have a small gold-colored souvenir pin in the shape of the State of Texas along with an orange road barrel and the words “The sign of regional success.”
It may seem ironic to drivers who see orange road barrels as the source of much frustration as they sit in traffic on area highways. However, Texans have made it clear with the decisions at the ballot box: they want improvements on their highways. Propositions pumping more money into the Texas Department of Transportation to help alleviate traffic passed in 2014 and 2015.
“We now have $70 billion to spend state-wide to get people out of traffic. That is nearly twice as much as we had previously,” said Tony Hartzel, with TxDOT.
The Texas Clear Lanes Initiative has already designated many projects across the state where that money will be spent including nearly $10 billion worth in DFW over the next decade. That means drivers should get used to the love-hate relationship with the color orange.
“We are well-aware that North Texas has orange barrel fever,” said Michael Rey with the North Texas Tollway Authority.
Many of the slated projects will take aim at the most congested highways in the area. That gridlock can be both the cause and the byproduct of crashes.
“There are a lot of different approaches to get people out of congestion but there is no magic formula,” said Hartzel.
TEXAS CLEAR LANES PROJECTS (from TxDOT): Projects to reduce congestions, improve mobility, operational efficiency, more reliable travel times, lower fuel consumption
DALLAS: Estimated Start Estimated Finish Cost
I-35E: I-30 to Oak Lawn Spring 2017 Winter 2019 $121.0 million
I-35E: US67 – Southern Gateway Spring 2017 Winter 2021 $665.5 million
SH199 Fall 2016 2019 $56.5 million
SH121: SH114 to Hall Johnson Summer 2016 2021 $61 million
I-820: SH121 to Randol Mill Summer 2017 2021 $147.8 million
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