Work Begins on $666M Redo of I-35E and Highway 67, With a Deck Park in the Plans

Ground was broken Wednesday on the so-called "Southern Gateway" project, a massive $666 million reconstruction of a large section of Interstate 35E and State Highway 67 near downtown through Oak Cliff.At a harmonious ceremony -- which stood in stark contrast with the acrimonious debate over the future of I-635 East -- state, regional and local officials said they have plenty to like about the highway.For state officials, the project is about alleviating congestion. For City Council members Scott Griggs and Dwaine Caraway, the project means literally bridging the division the highway created between their two Oak Cliff districts. Mayor Mike Rawlings and State Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas, said the project would be a boon to southern Dallas at large. State Rep. Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas, thought it was important that the highway won't have tolled lanes.And after years of talks and tweaks, all were happy to see construction begin. County Commissioner John Wiley Price, who still wants more minority participation on the construction work, said the "project is great" and "long overdue." West said the construction would prove that the city's leaders aren't just talking about growing the city's southern half, they're actually "putting in the infrastructure to get it done."Rawlings, who has championed a private GrowSouth effort as mayor, said the project would be vital to families in southern Dallas."It's important from a pragmatic standpoint," Rawlings said. "But it's also important from a symbolic standpoint. For too long, southern Dallas got bupkis. They got nothing. Nada. We are having these tens and hundreds of millions of dollars spent in southern Dallas. This major metropolitan city deserves this type of infrastructure."  Continue reading...

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