Intersection Near TCU to Reopen Early

Intersection Opening Three Weeks Early

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The construction work at the intersection of Berry and University Streets is complete three weeks ahead of schedule. (Published Friday, Jul 13, 2012)

    Construction work at the intersection of Berry Street and South University Drive finished three weeks ahead of schedule and will reopen Monday.

    The intersection will open by 8 a.m. Monday, although work in the area is far from finished. Another eight months of redeveloping is still ahead.

    The intersection is the first step in a long-awaited project to redevelop the area into another of the city's vibrant urban villages from University Drive to Interstate 35W. The overhaul features four steel plates with the TCU Horned Frog logo, brick crosswalks, countdown crosswalk signs and more.

    Fort Worth city leaders met Friday morning to look over the improvements at the intersection of Berry Street and South University Drive, which sees up to 40,000 vehicles per day.

    "I'm in awe," said Linda Clark, part of the Berry Street Initiative. "We've hit it out of the park. I'm just really, really pleased with the contractor and city staff, the community and everybody. It took a long time, but here we are."

    The construction finished early because crews didn't hit any major delays and Mother Nature helped.

    "The weather cooperated with us," said Arty Wheaton-Rodriguez, Fort Worth senior planner on the project.

    Wheaton-Rodriguez said that the traffic detours worked successfully and that closing down the intersection for the work -- which came with some controversy and heavy thought -- proved to be worth it.

    "It was a very tough decision, but what you get, though, is the most sound product that you can bring to the city," he said.

    But the orange cones and detour signs won't completely disappear, as the work will move by Wednesday to section of Berry between University and Waits Avenue.

    "It's far from finished, we have about eight months of construction left," Wheaton-Rodriguez said.

    The next phase will focus on street, sidewalk and median upgrades and will have an effect on local businesses. The Salsa Limon Food Truck will move from its normal area of operation, and employees aren't exactly thrilled about the construction.

    "No, I don't think anybody is," Larissa Murguia said.

    Despite the inconveniences and detours, the work ultimately will be worth bringing the road back to what it once was more than two decades ago, Clark said.

    "Berry Street was a wonderful commercial corridor 20 years ago," she said. "Then it got widened, the brick got torn up, traffic started going faster, and it wrecked the street. It just became a very unusable, unwalkable, unfriendly place to be, and this goes to the new urbanism point of view and takes us back to walkable and more friendly place to be."

    She said she feels the new intersection is a perfect starting point.

    The improvements are part of the Berry/University Urban Village project, which is funded by a $3.4 million North Central Texas Council of Governments Sustainable Development Grant. While the plan does go all the way east to I-35W, the city does not yet have the funding to implement the changes and is working to find the money.