A new highway project that will eventually alleviate rush-hour congestion for thousands of drivers who commute on Interstate 35E between Denton and Dallas begins Thursday.
Crews broke ground Thursday on a major expansion of Interstate 35E between Denton and Dallas.
The $1.4 billion 35Express project will widen the interstate, add toll lanes and revamp several bridges. The improvements should alleviate rush-hour congestion for the thousands of drivers who use the 28-mile stretch of the interstate.
"It's not going to eliminate traffic, but it will do a lot to go towards moving people from point A to point B in a much quicker time," Denton County Commissioner Ron Marchant said.
County leaders say it's a relief to see the project, which has been in the works since the 1980s, finally take shape.
But commuters aren't as happy to see work start on the massive undertaking.
"I think it's going to be a problem for a lot of people," said Joseph Viramontez, of Hickory Creek. "If traffic wasn't already enough of a problem as it is, I can't imagine what it's going to be like later."
Construction is expected to be completed in early 2017. But TxDOT said it's a fairly short timeframe for a project of this scale. TxDOT officials credited help from federal and local leaders for speeding up the timeline.
Setup and ditch work has already begun. Actual construction on the road is expected to begin in mid-October. Crews will begin by adding lanes to several bridges in Denton County to widen I-35E to three lanes. As construction workers continue south, they'll keep adding lanes and repairing overpasses.
The Texas Department of Transportation will build a new southbound bridge across Lake Lewisville.
The 35Express project will also add two toll lanes down the middle of the interstate. The toll lanes will have "dynamic pricing" that will change throughout the day, depending on traffic.
Construction is being managed by AGL Constructors under TxDOT. Federal, state and local money will pay for the project, along with toll fees collected from State Highway 121.