Thursday, August 2, 2007

Tolling in Fort Worth TxDOT Region

By Faith Chatham - Aug. 3, 2007
Texas Department of Transportation lists road and brige projcts, including current tolled projects, by district on their website KEEP TEXAS MOVING. Each TxDOT District has a separate webpage accessible from the TxDOT Keep Texas Moving Page.

A lot of information is available about projects in the district from this page. If you are researching a particular road project, scroll down the right side bar on the DFW Regional Concerned Citizens Page and check SPECIFIC PROJECTS for other links. Frequently we link to presentations at public hearings, engineering specs, drawings, environmental studies and other information there by project.

The Fort Worth TxDOT District includes Erath, Hood, Jack, Johnson, Palo Pinto, Parker, Somervell, Tarrant and Wise counties. The District Homepage provides links to Construction Projects, Contractor Information, Transportation Studies. Citizens can see the etails on the contracts let in two sections on that site:
MONTHLY STATE LET CONSTRUCTION REPORT by month and Letting Schedules for Constuction.

These reports show the contractors and subcontractors for all TxDOT projects in the Fort Worth District, date work began, working days charged, additional days granted, and date completed. There are also links to similar information on maintenance in the District.

Projects under construction and in planning are shown on the TxDOT Keep Texas Moving Fort Worth District page.

Currently they have links to five projects:
Colleyville Boulevard - SH 26
Right-of-Way Acquisition is Underway
TxDOT is well underway in the process of acquiring the right-of-way necessary for the SH 26 widening project. The Department has contacted the affected property owners along the highway corridor for the purpose of: 1) informing them of the State's intent to acquire right-of-way for the project, and 2) educating the property owners about the process that will be followed in acquiring the right-of-way. A team of appraisers has also been at work appraising the affected properties to determine "Fair Market Value".

When Will Construction Begin?
Construction is currently slated to begin in Fall 2009. However, that date could change depending on the amount of time it takes the State to acquire over 200 right-of-way parcels necessary for the project. Once the right-of-way is acquired, utilities, such as water lines, phone lines, and power poles, must be relocated to accommodate the highway widening.

Highway 377 Reconstruction
TxDOT’s Fort Worth District is currently planning improvements for the widening of U.S. 377 from FM 51 to FM 167 South from four lanes to a six-lane divided highway. It will include interchanges at SH 144 and Business 377, as well as the widening of the Lake Granbury Bridge. In addition to the highway widening, the project will include drainage structures, traffic signals, bridge widening, pavement markings and signage.

The U.S. 377 reconstruction project is not funded at this time. It is still in environmental review and preliminary design. After the environmental document and geometric schematic are further refined, they will be reviewed by TxDOT and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Once approval for further processing is received from the FHWA, a public hearing will be scheduled.

DFW Connector
The DFW Connector is a TxDOT project dedicated to improving mobility along SH 114 and SH 121 in a safe, efficient, reliable and environmentally sensitive manner.

The DFW Connector is committed to working in partnership with corridor communities, roadway users and other interested parties to accelerate construction on this corridor.

North Tarrant Express
There are Project Studies for 6 segments on the website. The North Tarrant Express is dedicated to improving mobility along North Interstate 35W, Northeast Interstate 820 and SH 121/183 Airport Freeway through a regionally supported managed lane system. This corridor is important to the future of North Tarrant County – the fastest growing area in North Texas.

North Tarrant Express is committed to working in partnership with corridor communities, roadway users and other interested parties to accelerate construction on this corridor.

Southwest Parkway
The SH 121/Southwest Parkway project will be a new four- to six-lane divided toll road which will extend about 15 miles from Interstate 30 to Farm to Market Road 1187. The goal of this project is to improve mobility and air quality in southwest Tarrant County.

SH 121/Southwest Parkway will continue with a 14-mile toll project on a new location in Johnson County from FM 1187 to US 67 in Cleburne, also known as Chisholm Trail.

Construction is tentatively scheduled to begin on both projects in 2008/2009 and end in 2011.
This project has been in the planning stages since the 1960ies. It was funded as a non-tolled boulevard in the 1980s and identified as a project which was a good candidate for tolling in the 1990ies. It has evolved into a tolled freeway. Environmental documents and the Environmental Assessment are on line. There are also links to NTTA and NCTCOG.

The MPO or Municipal Planning Organization for this region is the NCTCOG.

State Infrastructure Bank Loans for transportation projects in the Fort Worth District are listed on the Fort Worth Keep Texas Moving page.
The goal of the SIB program is to provide innovative financing methods that add to the list of options available to communities to assist them in meeting their infrastructure needs. The SIB program allows borrowers to access capital funds at, or lower than, market interest rates.

Four Projects are listed in the Fort Worth District at this time, three in Parker County and one in Wise County. Of special interest is the "Improvements along I-20 - New Frontage roads - SH 171 & FM 51 which is to utilize pass-through toll financing to help acelerate project delivery by up to 10 years." The project is described as "Contstruction of SH 171 & FM 51 New Frontage roads south along I-20 to provide rural access to surburban areas and to reduce congestion and delays and improve air quality by allowing traffic to move more efficiently. It is listed as "Improvements to I-20.
Loan estimate: $52.4 Million.
Start date: 10/01/1007
Borrower: Wise County, TX.

The two other projects in Parker County are in the City of Weatherford. The US 180 Improvement project loan for $240 thousand was approved in August 2003 on an estimated $2.1 million dollar project. This poject is for widening one mile of FM 2552to 4 lanes with a turn land and relocation of utilities. The City of Weatherford borrowed $193.52 thousand for eleven years at 4.2% interest.

The City of Weatherford also borrowed $240 thousand for ten years at 3.8% to improve US 180, relocate utilities due to bridge and approaches replacement of US 180 overpass. This est. 7.3 million project is in planning.

In Wise County a loan was approved in March 2004 for US 380 Expansion. Work is underway for utility relocation on US 380. The project is estimated to cost $34.6 million and Wise county borrowed $4.1 million from the State Infrastructure Bank at 4% interest for 20 years on this project.

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