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REWIND: The 30-year project for a 2-mile Dallas highway

Despite stretching just 1.7 miles from Stemmons Fwy to North Central Expy, it took a grand total of 31 years for Woodall Rodgers Fwy to become a reality.

DALLAS — Unbeknownst to the hundreds of people enjoying a leisurely day at Klyde Warren Park, they are frolicking in a park that sits upon perhaps the most troubled road projects in Dallas history.

Despite stretching just 1.7 miles from Stemmons Freeway to North Central Expressway, it took a grand total of 31 years for Woodall Rodgers Freeway to become a reality.

First proposed in 1952, the idea of an 8-lane, high-speed connector completing a loop around Downtown Dallas picked up steam in 1958.

It did not become a completed reality until 1983.

Several WFAA stories from the 1960s and 1970s documented the freeway’s progress—or lack thereof.

As a 1969 report put it, “Woodall Rodgers freeway has been the most problem plagues freeway in the history of the city.”

The reasons for the incessant delays range the gamut.

It took the city and county considerable time to obtain the right of ways to allow for the freeway’s construction. By the time they did, the cost of construction ballooned beyond the initial projections and finding the funds became the challenge. All this while the plans for the freeway’s design underwent several changes.

Eventually, the many dead-ends yielded the freeway the imagined three decades earlier, although the future would bring even more construction of a tunnel and the now beloved park above it.

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