Ashton Strong, transportation engineer for the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), briefed the Carrollton City Council on Tuesday on phase two of reconstruction on Interstate 35E.
Phase one of the reconstruction project began in 2013 when I-35E was recognized as one of Texas’ most used highways. TxDOT began expanding the highway to reduce congestion. Phase one focused mostly in Denton County, where the TxDOT added one additional general-purpose lane in each direction in Denton County, two reversible tolled managed lanes from Interstate 635 to Farm to Market 2181 and additional general-purpose lanes and frontage roads across Lewisville Lake.
“We can only build in phases due to available funding,” Strong said. “When we had available funding to build phase one we built what we could build. We did not anticipate building the phase two portion until a later time, but we had funding so as funds come into place we look at what projects we can put it towards.”
Phase two of the project focuses on a six-mile stretch from I-635 to the Denton County line in Carrollton. Reconstruction will add one additional general-purpose lane in each direction in Dallas County and full reconstruction of main lanes – the two existing grandfathered reversible tolled managed lanes and frontage roads in Dallas County.
“We are not going to increase capacity on the two tolling lanes, but we are going to rebuild them,” Strong said. “We will also rebuild the frontage roads and have intersection improvements. We are also going to widen the bridges we built in phase one of this project. It does accommodate this, so we don’t have to tear down the bridges we just built.”
Both phases are fully funded with an estimated cost of $600 million and an additional $75 million for right-of-way costs.
Separate from reconstruction of lanes, TxDOT plans to add aesthetic elements to corridors crossing Belt Line Road, which will match preexisting corridor graphics, in addition to Sandy Lake and Crosby roads, which will display Carrollton’s city logo.
Strong also mentioned enhancement opportunities including landscaping, hardscaping, decorative lighting and signage. Such enhancements will require local funding and will be coordinated as a separate project after reconstruction.
Construction is scheduled to begin in late 2021.