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February 2014

SH 161 improvements closer to construction

A regional effort to relieve congestion on State Highway 161 in Irving has received environmental clearance from the Federal Highway Administration and is under contract. The project will increase capacity by re-striping the highway to provide interim shoulder lanes on a 6.3-mile section of SH 161/President George Bush Turnpike from south of Conflans Road to north of State Highway 114. The North Central Texas Council of Governments, Texas Department of Transportation and North Texas Tollway Authority have worked together on this interim solution to improve reliability for this western Dallas County roadway.

A contract for the $3.8 million project has been awarded to Austin Bridge & Road LP, with construction expected to begin in the spring. The project, which will provide one interim general-purpose lane in each direction, is expected to take one year to complete. The lanes will be available for use during morning and evening peak hours of travel. During off-peak hours, signage will prohibit travel on the interim lanes, and the lanes will revert to serving as the inside shoulders. NCTCOG, TxDOT, NTTA and the city of Irving sought support for the project to eliminate a bottleneck, improve mobility and safety, and enhance air quality in a heavily congested corridor connecting two toll segments of the Bush Turnpike.

This will be the first time in Texas that TxDOT has used the shoulders for interim capacity improvements.

The interim project will remain in place until approximately 2017, when an ultimate project to build one managed toll lane in each direction is implemented.

Related Link: Federal Highway Administration

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