After years of planning and delays, a replacement for the notorious Dead Man’s Curve in Dallas is moving forward, Texas Department of Transportation officials said Friday.
Utility relocation is already underway on south Dallas land purchased over the years to remove the 90 degree turn on Highway 175 with a straight connection to Interstate 45.
A construction contract has been awarded and the Texas Transportation Commission is expected to formally approve the deal at a meeting in Austin next week, TxDOT representative Michelle Raglon said.
Construction on phase one could start by May.
“Well this is a really great opportunity for TxDOT and it’s been a long time coming,” Raglon said. “We’ve worked with the community in south Dallas.”
Most neighbors are pleased, while some remain unhappy.
The phase one connection between 175 and I-45 will cost about $104 million. Phase two turns the existing S.M. Wright Freeway north of the curve into a surface level boulevard, removing the freeway overpasses and ramps.
Businessman Ricky Svay said he relies on the 80,000 cars a day currently passing the liquor store he’s run for 16 years just north of the curve.
“Every day I can’t sleep, I worry so much,” he said. “I don’t know what’s going to happen to my income.”
Svay said the Boulevard plan reduces driveways at his business from four to one with many of his customers driving vehicles with trailers.
“I don’t know how they’re going to exit,” Svay said. “They can enter, but where are they going to exit?”
Neighbors Janet Jackson lives a block from an S.M. Wright Freeway overpass. She said removing the freeway will be a tremendous improvement for the neighborhood.
“It’s going to be very, very nice,” she said. “It’s going to take all that traffic away, the noise, all the sirens you hear in the deep night, all night long.”
Resident Robert Randall said removing Dead Man’s Curve will make the neighborhood safer.
“I am very excited that they’re going to fix that problem because it has hurt a lot of people, tore up a lot of cars,” Randall said. “After you complete it, everybody will realize it’s the best thing that could have happened.”
Raglon said the project includes a new TxDOT program to hire workers from the neighborhood. And additional connections to Grand Avenue from I-45 have also been added after meetings with neighbors.
“Some of the ramping was different, the beautification. We worked with the community with jobs and a lot of different parts on that. So we’re excited to be able to finally start,” Raglon said.
Plans call for six years of construction.