A major sign of progress next week could start to clear up the commute for drivers in southern Denton County.
Leaders with NorthGate Construction hope to have the new southbound main lanes of Farm-to-Market Road 2499 opened by Monday morning in Grapevine.
The lowered lanes will allow commuters traveling from the Flower Mound area to drive straight through Grapevine to State Highway 121 without having to stop at the traffic lights for Grapevine Mills Mall.
NorthGate spokeswoman Kristen Stieg said Thursday that as long as the weather continues to cooperate for their construction crews, NorthGate plans to shift traffic patterns on the stretch over the weekend. That could cause some backups for traffic in the area between Friday night and Monday morning, though.
Focus can then shift to the northbound lanes, which Stieg is hopeful will be opened in March.
While the "express" lanes should clear up some traffic jam issues on FM 2499, Stieg stresses that there is still work to be done.
Crews will reduce the frontage road to one lane once the mains open and expect them to stay like that for the remainder of the project while they fix those up.
Construction also continues on the bridge decks along the stretch.
According to the DFW Connector website, the project was originally slated as a $1.5 billion improvement effort, but when funding came in almost a half-billion short, the FM 2499 improvements had to be put on hold.
State, city and county leaders were able to get the money in place by 2013 though, and that work officially began.
The new stretch of main lanes, about one mile long, sits about 25 to 30 feet below the frontage roads to act as that bypass for commuters.
The entire project must be complete by January 2017, Stieg said.