Why state officials may (finally) be ready to expand I-35W from Fort Worth to Denton

April 19,2018


Star-Telegram article by Gordon Dickson 

Today, the footprint of Interstate 35W resembles a rural highway for much of the journey between far north Fort Worth and Denton, although the volume of traffic often is more like the races held at nearby Texas Motor Speedway.

But the Texas Department of Transportation is taking some initial steps to upgrade and modernize I-35W from the Tarrant/Denton county line (near Alliance Airport) in far north Fort Worth to the merge with I-35E in Denton, near the University of North Texas.

The state agency is unveiling plans to eventually expand the four-lane freeway to six lanes, although it could be years before the estimated $1.1 billion needed for the project is available.

However, the first phase of the project, the construction of frontage roads, could begin as soon as 2023, said department spokesman Ryan LaFontaine.

Some details of the plans for I-35W expansion will be displayed in a public meeting 6-8 p.m. Thursday at Argyle Middle School. The meeting will be informal, and representatives from the department and its consultants will be on hand to answer questions, LaFontaine said.

The addition of frontage roads could be a welcome improvement for the thousands of people who are moving into the area in recent months and years.

And more residents are on the way.

Construction is underway on Pecan Square, a project that includes 3,000 new homes in the $270,000-$500,000 range in Northlake, which until now was a community of only 2,397 residents perhaps known mostly for its I-35W speed trap.

Also, Hillwood has developed a master-planned community dubbed Harvest, a 1,200-acre neighborhood in the Argyle/Northlake area where 3,200 homes are planned.

The addition of frontage roads along I-35W will make it possible for businesses to open along the highway to serve all those new residents — not to mention the several thousand other area residents who commute daily between Fort Worth, Denton and other nearby communities in Tarrant, Denton and Wise counties.

Other cities affected by the proposed road work include Draper, Flower Mound and Haslet.

Improvements could include:

▪ Continuous four lane frontage roads with auxiliary lanes from Dale Earnhardt Way to the Interstate 35W/53E interchange.

▪ Reconfigured and relocated ramps.

▪ Upgraded cross street intersections.

Some right-of-way might need to be purchased from area land owners to do the work, according to a public notice regarding the project.

For more information on the Argyle meeting and the project plans, visit keepitmovingdallas.com.

This project is not related to the $1.6 billion makeover of I-35W from downtown Fort Worth to Heritage Trace Parkway in far north Fort Worth — work that is on track to be completed by September.

Also, it is not directly related to a proposal to improve I-35W from Heritage Trace Parkway to Eagle Parkway, near Alliance Airport — a project that includes upgrading existing toll-free lanes and adding two toll TEXPress lanes in each direction. That project has been stalled by some state government officials who object to using public dollars for a project with a toll element on it.