The bill by state Rep. Rob Orr, R-Burleson, and widely supported by other North Texas lawmakers clears up years of confusion about the name.
For decades, folks in the Fort Worth area have called the road Southwest Parkway -- or before that, Southwest Freeway (before the whole toll road idea came up). But in 2003, the Johnson County portion of the road was renamed Chisholm Trail Parkway by state law, while the northern portion of the road in Tarrant County remained Southwest Parkway.
The road is partly under construction and is tentatively scheduled to open in 2013. Fort Worth-area political and business leaders have pushed for more than four decades to cut a road through the southwestern quadrant of the community.
The new name is widely favored by Fort Worth leaders, although for years historians have debated the precise location of the historical cattle trail in Texas. The heyday of the Chisholm Trail was 1867 to 1884, when cowboys used the famed trail as a safe, reliable way to get cattle from the Texas plains through Oklahoma and on to rail stops in Kansas.
The North Texas Tollway Authority, the lead agency in the toll road project, could formally change the name in compliance with the new state law as early as June, board chairman Victor Vandergriff of Arlington said.
"I would anticipate that the NTTA will react favorably to the name change," Vandergriff said. "I expect the board to take up the issue in June but we may not be able to officially rename the road until the bill becomes law in September and/or until we finish the financing on the road."
Texas Transportation Commission member Bill Meadows of Fort Worth added: "We are appreciative of the Legislature and governor honoring the history and heritage of our community by the naming of this important parkway the Chisholm Trail Parkway."
-- Gordon Dickson, [email protected]
Photo: Texas Lakes Trail Region