LBJ Express officially opens in Dallas

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The LBJ Express in North Dallas officially opened Thursday, marking the end of a 2-year-long construction project.

The new lanes, many of which run below the rest of the LBJ Freeway, are between Luna Road and Preston Road. Three are toll lanes and drivers who use them will be charged varying toll rates depending on the time of day.

However, engineers think the improvements will save commuters an average of 15 minutes on what was once one of the most congested stretches of road in DFW.

“We faced challenges you couldn’t go any higher, you couldn’t go any wider. The only way to go was down,” said Heather Delap, a spokeswoman for the project. “We’ve taken that 50-year-old infrastructure and we’ve brought in into the 21st century. This infrastructure will last for generations and we built it in less than five years.”

Those behind the project said it has been in the works since 1987.

“In the interim we built the Central Expressway project. We built the Hi Five. But all along we had this momentum building to get the LBJ Express done and open. Yes it took us more than two decades, almost three decades to get here, but we’re in a great spot,” said Tony Hartzel with the special projects division.

The $3 billion project was completed four months ahead of schedule.

The Texas Department of Transportation contributed 20 percent toward the cost, making it the largest public-private partnership project in the state.