Big North Texas road projects moved forward Thursday after years on the drawing boards with action by the Regional Transportation Council.
The biggest project is the reconstruction of major portions of Interstate 35E through Dallas.
Also on the list is work on Interstate 635, U.S. Highway 75, an interchange at Texas highways 360 and 121, Texas Highway 199 and Interstate 820 from Texas Highway 121 to Randol Mill Road.
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The I-35E work in Dallas includes $100 million for lower Stemmons Freeway improvements and also the so-called "Southern Gateway," a $655 million reconstruction of R.L. Thornton Freeway through Oak Cliff and U.S. Highway 67 south to Interstate 20.
Several of the projects have been on the drawing board for many years without money to pay for them.
"So we're excited to have this money. The project, obviously, is still in development but the main thing about this project is to have the money," said Dallas County Commissioner Elba Garcia.
The Southern Gateway includes $30 million for a new deck park to be constructed across the freeway outside the Dallas Zoo, similar to the Klyde Warren Park constructed over Woodall Rogers Freeway in Downtown Dallas.
"I think it will be another big asset," Garcia said. "We know how successful our current deck park has been."
New sources of money approved by voters last fall help fund the projects. The list goes next to the Texas Transportation Commission in Austin, where Gov. Greg Abbott is pushing even faster congestion relief.
"That's going to be an uphill situation," said Regional Transportation Council Director Michael Morris. "If the governor can advance congestion relief projects, that would be fantastic."
Drivers in the Southern Gateway area were pleased about the progress for congested I-35E in Oak Cliff.
Eliu Perez drives a tow truck and said he has plenty of business on the freeway near his home.
"The curves are pretty tight and if they're coming too fast, somebody stops they just automatically rear end somebody," he said.
"I really do hope it gets better," driver Christina Sanchez said. "But then again, the construction part, it's a pain in the butt to wait for years for it to be completely done."
Timetables are still in the works as the projects move to the Texas Highway Commission for final approvals.