After nearly five decades of delays, government leaders said the economic benefits are hard to underestimate in both Tarrant and Johnson counties.
“It’ll change the growth pattern of the metroplex,” Fort Worth city councilman Jungus Jordan said. “We are excited.”
Construction on the $1.8 billion project is already well underway off Interstate 30 near University Drive.
With general tax money in scarce supply, highway planners decided the only way to fund it was to collect tolls.
"The revenue generated from the traffic is what's going to pay for the road,” Jordan said. “So the taxpayer, rather than paying taxes for the road, will be paying tolls."
It’s just the first major toll road being built in Tarrant County. Developers are constructing a private toll road along North Loop 820 and Highways 183 and 121.
Toll road or free road, the Southwest Parkway has been on the drawing board for nearly 50 years. City leaders first envisioned a highway to the southwest in 1965. But over the years, it met delay after delay.
It is expected to open in late 2013.
Transportation planners say the private and public toll roads should help relieve congestion on other free highways including Interstate 35W in Fort Worth.