Correction: This post has been corrected from an earlier version. Ribbon-cutting for the Golden Triangle project was Wednesday.
Work crews will remove the orange construction cones and open a widened Golden Triangle Boulevard from I-35 to U.S. 377 Thursday and Friday, taking an old two-lane rural road to four lanes and easing traffic flow from the interstate to Texas 114 at Southlake.
The 3.4-mile, $29 million project – a partnership of the city of Fort Worth, Tarrant County, and the Texas Department of Transportation – took more than two years to build and was years in the planning.
Golden Triangle connects to FM 1709 at Keller and the road runs through Southlake to 114, raising its importance as a major east-west arterial in the area. It joins Heritage Trace Parkway, North Tarrant Parkway, Basswood Boulevard and Western Center Boulevard as other improved east-west arterials in the Alliance Corridor.
"This is a big piece," Rusty Fuller, president of the North Fort Worth Alliance, an umbrella group of more than 20 far North homeowner associations that’s pressured the city for more roads in the fast-growing I-35 corridor. "This is the one major thoroughfare that goes from 114 all the way to 35W."
Thursday, crews will complete striping on the two new eastbound lanes – now roadblocked for construction – and open the road, Ricardo Gonzalez, North Tarrant County engineer for TxDOT.
Friday, crews will restripe the two westbound lanes – one of them has carried eastbound traffic pending construction completion of the whole project – and open the road, Gonzalez said.
Over the next few months, crews will install permanent signs and finish median work, Gonzalez said. Some of that work will require daily lane closures between 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., he said.
Money for the project came from three sources: $10.7 million from Fort Worth bond elections in 2004 and 2007; $7.3 million from Tarrant County; and $11 million from the federal government. The city’s portion comes from leftover voter-approved money that Fort Worth is rapidly spending to get ready for its next bond election, tentatively set for May 2014.
Doug Wiersig, Fort Worth’s transportation and public works director, said the road will handle 30,000 cars a day.
For future growth, the road has wide medians that can be converted to another two lanes, he said.
"You don’t have to mess with any of the drainage, or buy right of way," he said.
Councilman Sal Espino, whose North Side district includes the road, has pressed for its completion and called on council members to find more ways to finance badly needed roads in the area. He called the new Golden Triangle "a first-class road for a first-class part of town for a first-class city."
Espino’s district gives up the area later this year under the city’s new council redistricting map. Councilmen Danny Scarth and Dennis Shingleton, whose districts share the far North with Espino’s under the new map, joined Espino for a ribbon-cutting of the new road Wednesday.
Neighborhood leaders and public officials said the pending completion of the Golden Triangle project has already brought in new commercial development, including a 7-Eleven, Golden Chick, and car wash at the intersection with North Beach Street.
"This will open up a tremendous amount of commercial development," Fuller said.
The widened Golden Triangle is the first of more major road projects that need to be done in the area, Fuller said.
Timberland Boulevard to the north dead-ends at Alta Vista Road, and Fort Worth wants to extend it east to U.S. 377, in partnership with the city of Keller. Fort Worth’s share is among the projects vying for the 2014 bond package.
The road extension would easily link Keller to Timber Creek High School, which is on Timberland in Fort Worth and the Keller school district, Wiersig said. Keller residents currently must circumnavigate Keller Haslet Road and other similiar roads to get to the high school, Wiersig said.
Extending North Beach Street to Texas 170, from its dead-end north of Timberland, also has high priority among projects jostling to be in Fort Worth’s bond package, Wiersig said.
- Scott Nishimura, Star-Telegram Fort Worth City Hall reporter