FORT WORTH, Texas - A $1.6 billion construction project to improve Interstate 35W in Fort Worth is finally complete.
The official ribbon cutting ceremony takes place around 11:40 a.m. Then the lanes that have been under construction for years and years between Downtown Fort Worth and the U.S. Highway 287 Decatur cutoff will reopen.
The project was designed to help with traffic flow. The Texas Department of Transportation found that section of I-35W was actually one of the most congested corridors in the state.
The highway is now moving 20,000 more vehicles than pre-construction. The infrastructure, which was 60 years old, is now rebuilt with a 21st-century design and safety standards. Capacity was almost doubled, existing lanes were reconstructed and toll lanes were added in each direction.
“This is part of a much larger system. You’re seeing a system of transportation projects that basically in the backbone of the Dallas-Fort Worth region connects Fort Worth over to the fast-growing Dallas suburbs and not coincidentally connecting to DFW Airport, our largest economic generator,” said Michael Morris with the North Central Texas Council of Governments.
But the improvements did come with a hefty price tag and non-stop construction and lane closures since the project began in 2010.
“It gives people an option on how to get to work in a timely fashion. Many of them have spent an hour to an hour and a half on these highways and those days are over, we hope,” said Tarrant County Commissioner Gary Fickes.
Project officials said there are a few more things to do before the project is fully completed. There are three direct connectors that are still being built. Those are expected to open up at the end of the year.