North Texas has a new type of planned mobility.
Motorists can now choose to drive the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) Connector using the general purpose lanes at no cost, or pay for no stop-and-go driving on the TEXpress Lanes. This $1.6 billion rebuild reduces congestion at the confluence of two of the area's most heavily traveled highways (SH 114 and SH 121). Access into DFW International Airport has been made easier through expanded roadway capacity, and managed toll lanes and direct connect ramps are now in place where none previously existed.
The DFW Connector improvements were in the making for more than a decade. Extensive planning and collaboration was needed for a project of this complexity to improve safety and mobility. Working with the Texas Department of Transportation, we completed a Major Investment/Corridor Improvement Study that identified early project alternatives — different modes of travel (rail, transit, etc.) and new location segments or modifications to the existing corridor. A series of public meetings helped narrow the focus, and an extensive evaluation involving preliminary design (horizontal and vertical geometric considerations), traffic demand modeling and value engineering narrowed the recommendations further.
To accommodate forecasted regional travel demands, modifications to the existing corridor with managed lanes were recommended. This solution would provide for the most trips within the corridor, reduce impacts to local arterial streets and increase flexibility for construction. Providing a managed facility within the overall project enables the roadway to be managed on a more microscopic level depending on time of day, congestion levels and vehicle occupancy level.
By focusing on the major issues and applying a systematic and progressive approach to resolving them, the project team was able to provide a workable solution in this complex and constrained corridor. Working with local governments, the public and oversight agencies, major obstacles were identified early and buy-in was achieved at milestone intervals. The DFW Connector is now open to traffic and the results of a decade worth of planning are now being realized.