AUSTIN – Students in Haltom City, Keller and Richland Hills soon may walk or ride bicycles to school with less risk of getting hit by a car, after $3.3 million in federal funding was awarded for sidewalks, pavement markings and other improvements. The awards were announced Thursday during a meeting of the Texas Transportation Commission in Austin. Statewide, $54.1 million was awarded to about 200 projects in the federal Safe Routes to School program. The funding covers 100 percent of costs, and doesn’t require a local match, said Carol Rawson, director of the transportation department’s traffic operations division. It can be used for sidewalks, handicap-accessible ramps, signs and pavement markings that improve pedestrian safety. Among the awards: nHaltom City – Academy at West Birdville, $272,200; Haltom Middle School, $395,397; North Oaks Middle School, $428,993. nKeller – Two awards for unspecified school areas, $443,658 and $254,569. nRichland Hills – Binion Elementary, $499,036; Richland Elementary, $491,616; Richland Middle $497,880. The money will be distributed to cities over a four-year period, Rawson said. Richland Hills also received $93,150 for educational and enforcement activities to improve safety along school routes during the next two years. GORDON DICKSON, 817-390-7796
The Fort Worth Transportation Authority says it needs land behind the T&P Warehouse in downtown Fort Worth for a commuter rail line, and because the landowner won't sell, the T is taking steps to condemn it.
It’s a chance to get some exercise and fresh air, and check out local celebrities wearing carbon fiber shorts. Friday is Bike to Work Day in Fort Worth. Dozens of cycling enthusiasts are expected to use Fort Worth’s growing network of hike and bike trails to get to work. Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley, Tax Assessor/Collector Betsy Price and Fort Worth Transportation Authority president Dick Ruddell are among those expected to take part in a morning of pedal-rific festivities. Many riders say they will use the Trinity Trails to get to downtown. One group of riders plans to meet at Tarrant County College Trinity River Campus at 7:45 a.m. and pedal en masse to the Intermodal Transportation Center, 1001 Jones St., where free coffee and snacks will be offered to riders until about 9 a.m. Bike inspections and demonstrations of bike rack loading also will be performed. A news briefing will be held at 8:15 a.m., where dignitaries will trumpet the health benefits of leaving a car at home and taking a bike to work.
GRAPEVINE — The contractor working on the $1 billion DFW Connector road project in Grapevine could be fined $8,300 or more for closing at least one lane of traffic during Tuesday morning rush hour, officials said.
NorthGate Constructors’ contract with the Texas Department of Transportation generally prohibits closing freeway lanes between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. — and requires most road work to be performed overnight. However, on Tuesday, at least one lane of southbound Texas 121 and westbound Texas 114/121 near the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport north entrance remained closed until 6:57 a.m.
NorthGate issued an apology to electronic alert subscribers on its website — www.dfwconnector.com — and explained that the 57-minute delay was for safety. “We needed to ensure that new striping on westbound SH 114/121 was both clear and visible for commuters,” the apology read.
The transportation department was evaluating whether to charge NorthGate up to $8,300 per hour for each lane remaining closed after 6 a.m., spokesman Tony Hartzel said. (In industry lingo, it's not a fine -- it's "liquidated damages.") The precise number of lanes closed after 6 a.m. was still being determined.