Airport Freeway Expansion Gets Bigger

Road project triples in size with addition of SH 114 and Loop 12 expansions

After years of stop-and-go progress, state transportation officials have an innovative financing option for the expansion of Airport Freeway, which has tripled in size.

Expansion efforts for State Highway 183, one of the main arteries between Dallas and Fort Worth, have been in the works for years.

The Legislature has provided the Texas Department of Transportation with a Pass-Through Financing option, which allows a private company to put money for the project up front, with TxDOT paying it back at a later time.

State and local leaders hope it can speed up the expansion project.

"There will be incentives offered in the contract to help build more quickly, and we're very sure that we'll be able to get this done at a very quick amount of time," said state Rep. Linda Harper-Brown, who announced the news at the University of Dallas on Friday.

Airport Freeway will extend 13.5 miles into Tarrant County from the original expansion plans, and State Highway 114 and Loop 12 expansion plans are now a part of the one project.

The project's estimated cost is $3.8 billion.

TxDOT spokeman Tony Hartzel said businesses have shown great interest in a public-private partnership to fund the expansion and is optimistic that action will be taken soon.

"With the procurement that we have underway, everything is coming together, and we're optimistic about getting this project started construction next year," he said.

Hartzel said state transportation officials hope to have a contract signed by early next year.

Up to 170,000 drivers use State Highway 183 daily.

"It's the center of Texas. It's the gateway to DFW Airport, which is the largest asset that we have in our area," Harper-Brown said.

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