Drivers who use the Interstate 635 and State Highway 121 interchange in Tarrant County should brace for four more years of construction.
A groundbreaking ceremony was held to kick off the I-635/SH 121 Interchange project at The Laurel in Grapevine on Monday, Aug. 13. The $370 million, 3-mile project will reconstruct and widen SH 121 to accommodate a new interchange at I-635 and increase connectivity between I-635, SH 121, SH 26 and FM 2499. The I-635/SH 121 Interchange project will also widen direct connectors and frontage roads, as well as increase capacity along Bass Pro Drive.
The initial project timeline states construction crews will begin utility, wall and bridge work on the project in September, and foundation work on a new eastbound Bass Pro Drive bridge will start in October. Construction is expected to take place mainly at night and on the weekends, and the overall project is expected to be completed in 2022.
The I-635/121 interchange has been ranked as the 48th worst checkpoint in the state of Texas, according to Texas Transportation Commission Chairman, J. Bruce Bugg, Jr. In 2016, Governor Abbott called on the Texas Transportation Commission to develop a focused initiative to address the most congested chokepoints in Texas. Bugg met with transportation leaders and elected officials in the state’s five major metropolitan areas. Those listening tours and collaborative efforts with metropolitan planning organizations and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) districts helped shape this initiative.
“This project is good news for drivers and is proof of our commitment to keep traffic moving in the region,” Bugg said. “Reducing congestion in our metro areas is an ambitious task, but we’re committed through the Texas Clear Lanes initiative to work with our state and local leaders to make a difference for drivers.”
Bugg added this project would also help address the ongoing traffic problems at the DFW Airport.
“We all understand the huge economic development of the DFW Airport,” Bugg said. “This project will help alleviate congestion in and around the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport, and allow folks who live in all these communities to have a better quality of life. They can take their kids to school, get themselves to work, get to church on Sunday, whatever it is they do. This is going to help everyone in the community.”
The interchange is the next major component of the DFW Connector project, a project that has already brought in over $1 billion of improvements to SH 121 and SH 114. The improvements for the I-635/SH 121 Interchange were included in the original DFW Connector project, but funds were not available at the time to deliver the entire scope of the project. In 2017, TxDOT secured funding for the project through the Texas Clear Lanes initiative, which aims to reduce congestion in major metropolitan area through the state of Texas. With the funding secured, TxDOT and NorthGate negotiated a plan to rebuild this portion of the original project.
Written by Ariel Graham