DALLAS – The Texas Department of Transportation is preparing neighbors across South Dallas for big safety and aesthetic improvements along Interstate 45 and U.S. 175.
The agency says it will begin construction on the S.M. Wright Project in a few months.
The $200-million project is a major best practices model. The agency is working with local, state, and federal agencies on a major improvement plan to help make some surrounding communities whole again, according to a TX-DOT spokeswoman.
Phase I of the S.M. Wright Project will focus on increasing safety by adding direct connecting ramps from U.S. 175 to I-45. That will cut out use of the US-175 curve. It's an area some neighbors commonly refer to as “Dead Man’s Curve."
Charles Anderson lives near C. F. Hawn Freeway.
"Oh yeah, you can be in the house and hear those 18-wheelers breaking before they even get to the curve," he said.
Phase II of the Project will focus on slowing traffic down through South Dallas. TxDOT will be changing S.M. Wright from I-45 to Budd from a high speed roadway to a low-speed, six-lane boulevard with landscaping. The plan also calls for making the area more pedestrian friendly.
"I think it would be a good thing,” said resident Shirley Wheeler. “It would prevent a lot of unnecessary accidents."
TxDOT is incorporating a lot of feedback from the community in its vision for the S.M. Wright Project. The agency held a brief community meeting at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Recreation Center on Tuesday to keep neighbors updated on the project’s plans.
A TxDOT spokeswoman says the agency hopes the changes will be a catalyst for new economic development opportunities in South Dallas.