North Tarrant Express construction could mean weekend headache




Posted on December 7, 2012 at 11:41 PM

BEDFORD -- It's probably a good idea to avoid the Airport Freeway for much of the weekend. Or at least pack your patience if you go.

Construction crews will be tearing down the old bridge where Brown Trail crossed Highway 183/121 in Bedford. To do that, a detour will be in place from 9 p.m. to 10 a.m. both Friday and Saturday nights.

Eastbound traffic will be forced to exit at Brown Trail, while westbound traffic is rerouted into eastbound lanes, explained Lara Kohl of Bluebonnet Contractors.

"I like to call this short-term pain for long-term gain," she said. "183 has been one of the most congested corridors in this country for a long time, so drivers have been waiting much too long for relief in this area."

It's a delicate project. Crews are reconstructing 13-and-a-half miles from Fort Worth to Euless, turning it into the North Tarrant Express. And the project is underway while 170,000 cars are still driving the route.

Kyong Nam Kim, who owns Isis A to Z Bridal Shop at the Airport Freeway/Brown Trail interchange, said construction is a test of her perseverance.

"Most of the time I don't see anybody here," she said. She sells formal dresses and rents tuxedos for all ages, but business is not good. "I've been really struggling."

Anticipating a slow weekend, she decided to close her shop and take some of her inventory to Traders Village in Arlington. She plans to sell some dresses at discount prices, "just to get some cash," she said.

The construction project outside her front door is not quite halfway done. Kohl said crews are on schedule to complete the rebuild by June 2015.

Kim hopes she can hang on.