You decide but ready or not it is coming …
Everyone who drives Business 287 and U.S. 287 in the morning or evening on a typical workday – toss in Sublett Road between the two highways – knows that road congestion has come to little ol’ Kennedale. Growth south of us in Mansfield and Midlothian has put pressure on the I-20, East Loop 820 and both of the 287 highways.
Is it going to get better? Not likely under the existing mixmaster, at least that is what the planners at the Texas Department of Transporation (TxDOT) are thinking. So there is a plan that has been in the works for several years now called the Southeast Connector. Studies have been conducted including environmental impact. Multiple presentations have been conducted, and the “go ahead” has been given. The project is set to begin late next year, 2021.
Its goal is to correct and improve traffic flow on the connector of U.S. 287, the Southeast Loop, and I-20. It involves 16 miles of roadway and includes more traffic lanes (up to six), and the development of 126 acres of land along the roadways. The projected cost is roughly $2 billion and some change.
That price tag plus the added noise and the overall environmental impact is the subject of concern for some. And, it is part of the reason that it has been labeled one of the “Highway Boondoggles’ in a report by the U.S. Public Interest Group and Frontier Group (watchdog organizations). You can read the article by clicking on Frontier Group. Read more at Star Telegram article.
Too expensive, too big and strains existing resources?
The argument against the project goes something like this. If you build bigger better roads more development will happen and more cars will be traveling the improved road. Air pollution will increase with increased traffic. With the additional development the greater the negative environmental impact will be on areas that already have seen a major loss of natural habitat. Not to mention the strains it will put on the limited water resources in these areas. Those against the project say the solution is to promote alternatives to automobiles by providing better public transportation options.
Needed to meet growing demand and bumper to bumper congestion?
For TxDOT, it is simply a solution to growing congestion which will in the longterm improve drivers being able to safely get to work, home and do their shopping. The DFW area is ranked in the top metropolitan areas in the United States at #4 following #1 New York area, #2 Los Angeles area and then #3 Chicago. TxDOT reasons that growth is a part of any equation for DFW and that makes transportation a priority here.
It should be noted that we are nowhere close to the New York Metropolitan area which boast 19.2 million using 2019 estimates of population, while DFW has 7.6 million rounded up in top. See US Top Metropolitan Areas.
The revised connector would stretch from Meadowbrook Drive in Fort Worth along I-820 south to Sublett Road on the border of Kennedale along U.S. 287. And, west from Kelly-Elliot Road in Arlington on I-20 to Forest Hill Drive.
US 287 improvements will involve …
- Adding a lane to each side, moving from 3 lanes to 4 each direction.
- Reconstructing frontage roads.
- Reconstructing exit and entrance ramps.
- Adding sidewalks and shared-use paths.
Projections by TXDot for U.S. 287 has traffic increasing to 167,300 vehicles by 2040. It was at 102,900 vehicles in 2010.
For additional information on this project check out the following links …
- PowerPoint Presentation
- Map of Project Area
- History Timeline
- Newsletter 2019 TXDOT
- Environmental Assessment
- Finding of No Significant Impact
- Southeast Connector – TxDOT
YouTube presentation – U.S. 287 (Ft Worth south to Sublett Road)
Note: When watching the video check the top right corner to see direction, as it progresses, the arrow moves on the inset map to show you where you are overall. The video does start just south of downtown Fort Worth and precedes south on U.S. 287 through Sublett Road.
YouTube presentation – Southeast I-820 (Ft Worth from near I-30 and I-820 south to I-820/I-20/U.S. 287 connector)
Note: When watching the video check the top right corner to see direction, as it progresses, the arrow moves on the inset map to show you where you are overall. The video starts southbound on I-820 at Brentwood Stair Road and progresses past Meadowbrook and Lancaster Avenue ending at the I-820/I-20/Hwy287 connector.
YouTube presentation – I-20 (Ft Worth Forrest Hill Drive east to I-820/I-20/U.S. 287 connector)
Note: When watching the video check the top right corner to see direction, as it progresses, the arrow moves on the inset map to show you where you are overall. The video starts eastbound on I-20 at Forest Hill Drive and progresses past Bus. 287, through the I-820/U.S. 287/I-20 connector and the U.S. 287/I-20 split, ending just pass Kelly Elliott Road in Southwest Arlington.