Nearly four years ago, construction began on the Interstate 35E project. As it nears completion, residents will have to contend with a summer spent repaving the roadways, which means more lane closures for drivers.
Officials said the main work over the summer will be placing the final layer of pavement on the north- and southbound main lanes of I-35E. Roads will be paved overnight, and officials have cautioned motorists that there will be nightly double lane closures on the main lanes.
“Drivers should be alert for rough and uneven pavement as well as uneven lanes in these areas as the work is completed,” said C.J. Schexnayder, communications manager for the 35 Express project.
May residents have taken to social media to express frustration about the uneven lanes along I-35E.
Rosie Ocampo posted a comment on Facebook after traveling I-35E northbound from Dallas to Lewisville.
“I cannot understand how it is legal to leave a highway in those conditions during any type of construction,” Ocampo said.
Ocampo said she noticed several inch differences running through parts of the lanes.
“It made it really hard to stay in one lane,” Ocampo said.
Schexnayder said uneven pavement will exist as crews work to repave the roads. He said as they complete the final pavement, crews must remove the old paving, put on new and do the striping. He said there is close to 350 lane miles to pave this summer.
“We can’t do it in one night,” Schexnayder said. “We’re really urging people to look for signs and sign up for the alerts. We will put out paving-specific alerts.”
Crews will continue repaving roadways throughout the summer, but Schexnayder said they only work on main lanes from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. during the week and from 10 p.m. to noon on the weekends.
The 35Express project is scheduled for “substantial completion in late summer,” Schexnayder said. That will include additional main lane capacity as well as all cross streets and frontage roads. Construction operations will continue in the fall as AGL completes aesthetic and landscaping work along the corridor.
“The majority of this work will be completed without any major disruptions to traffic,” Schexnayder said.
Schexnayder said the configuration of the new roadway is almost complete. The north and southbound collector/distributor lanes opened earlier this year. The TEXpress lanes as well as the new direct ramps to the Sam Rayburn Tollway opened in May. The additional main lane in each direction from FM 3040 going north will be introduced when paving is completed.
The Fox Avenue and Garden Ridge Boulevard bridges are set to open in August and FM 407 will fully open by the end of July.
Drivers are contending with several new traffic patterns, including connecters to Sam Rayburn Tollway and the President George Bush Turnpike. Schexnayder said the new configuration is most likely here to stay. TxDOT is “monitoring” the area and looking at different options due to traffic congestion, and officials will re-evaluate the area once Phase I is complete.
“When you introduce new traffic flows it takes people a while to get used to,” Schexnayder said.