AUSTIN -- State transportation officials acknowledged Thursday that they’re still more than $500 million short in the funding they need to rebuild seven Grapevine highways, a massive $1.5 billion project known as the DFW Connector.
Even so, the Texas Transportation Commission selected a private developer to get started on the project, possibly by late 2009 or early 2010. The project includes rebuilding parts of Texas 114, 121, 360 and 26, as well as slivers of farm roads 1709 and 2499 and Interstate 635.
A team of developers led by Omaha, Neb.-based Kiewit Corp. and San Antonio-based Zachry Construction was selected as the best value. Members of that team will negotiate with Texas Department of Transportation officials over the next six months to build as much as possible with the roughly $917 million to $997 million available for the project.
The first phase calls for at least the reconstruction of main lanes from eastern Southlake to central Grapevine, and the addition of at least one managed lane – a hybrid toll and carpool lane – in each direction. State and local officials say they also hope to build an additional toll lane in each direction and add main lanes north of Dallas/Fort Worth Airport.
Dozens of Dallas-Fort Worth officials were on hand Thursday to meet with commissioners and about the DFW Connector and many other road and rail projects planned through 2030. If they were disappointed by the lack of funding to build the entire DFW Connector project right away, they hid it well, offering only remarks of thanks and congratulations to those who helped get the project – more than 10 years in the planning – to this point.
“Our people know it’s coming. They’re ready to begin,” Grapevine Mayor William D. Tate said after the commission meeting in Austin. “It’s time to take the money we have and get it started.”