I-35W "TexPress Lanes" Open Thursday

Alan Scaia
July 19, 2018 - 7:11 am
Construction, I-35W

Credit: Alan Scaia, 1080 KRLD

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FORT WORTH (1080 KRLD) - Managed lanes are scheduled to open Thursday afternoon on Interstate 35W from Downtown Fort Worth to Heritage Trace Parkway, north of the Highway 287 "Decatur Cutoff."

The lanes are part of the $1.6 billion expansion of 35W that started in 2013. More than 100 miles of "TexPress" lanes are now open across North Texas.

"This project fully connects to the North Tarrant Express, 820-North Loop segment, so you're finding those connection points," says the project's Robert Hinkle. "You can literally go from the most southwestern portion of the Metroplex to the most Northeastern portion, and you can do it almost on a managed lane the entire way, so the network is growing."

TexPress lanes had already opened along North Loop 820 and Highway 183. Crews are adding managed lanes as part of an expansion of 183 through Irving and along 35E in Dallas and Denton Counties.

The managed lanes have a tolling system that changes based on demand. To keep an average speed of at least 50 miles an hour, tolls increase when more people use the lanes.

Since the first TexPress lanes opened in 2014, Hinkle says developers have learned few people use the lanes every day as part of their commute. He says TollTags may register people driving to the airport, or shipping companies may encourage truck drivers to use the lanes because the tolls are cheaper than paying drivers an extra hour to sit in traffic.

"We can't build enough lane miles, we can't build enough asphalt and pavement to move cars, especially during peak," he says. "But if people are given a choice as to how they manage their way through the corridor, the customers are proving they want to do that."

While 'TexPress' and main lanes will open Thursday, crews will continue working on interchanges near Downtown Fort Worth through the end of the year.