Dead Man's Curve in for a Straightening

By Ken Kalthoff
|  Wednesday, Jan 27, 2010  |  Updated 7:00 PM CDT
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Straightening Dead Man's Curve

NBCDFW.com

A tanker truck lost control on the 90-degree U.S. 175 and exploded in October 2008. The fiery wreck ruined the overpass to Texas 310, taking months to replace.

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Straightening Dead Man's Curve

Dallas has made progress in the effort to eliminate Dead Man's Curve, one of the most treacherous interchanges in North Texas.
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Dallas isn't letting Trinity River levee worries put a brake on plans to fix one of the most treacherous interchanges in North Texas.

Dead Man's Curve, the interchange at U.S. 175 and Texas 310 was the scene of a spectacular tanker wreck and explosion in October 2008. It has been the scene of dozens of other wrecks in recent years and three fatalities.

Plans call for removing the curve by straightening U.S. 175 with a direct connection to Interstate 45. It was to be a part of the proposed Trinity Toll Road, but that project is now facing long delays over Trinity River levee safety concerns.

Because of that, state and local officials decided to break out the U.S. 175-to-I-45 segment as a separate project.

“Everybody is trying to correct this problem as soon as possible,” said Mark Petit, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Transportation.

The Dallas City Council on Wednesday approved the purchase of some of the land required for the new alignment.

“It’s going to improve Dead Man’s Curve,” said Councilwoman Carolyn Davis, who represents the neighborhood. “The enhancement, I think, long term in that area is going to be for the benefit of that neighborhood.”

Plans also call for turning the elevated S.M. Wright Freeway segment of U.S. 175 north of the curve into a landscaped, surface-level boulevard.

The Texas Transportation Commission is scheduled to vote Thursday on money for final study and design of the Dead Man’s Curve straightening.

“That would take as much as two years, depending on support,” Petit said. “And we still need to come up with funding for construction; that’s $185 million.”

Officials have applied for federal economic stimulus funding on the project.

Neighbor James Cobb was there the day the tanker exploded. He’s anxious to see the improvements completed.

“I think it will cut down, actually eliminate the accidents that happen out here on every other week,” Cobb said.

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