Big Rigs Cut Through Fort Worth Neighborhood to Avoid Construction Traffic

Neighbors raise safety concerns about traffic on residential streets

Traffic along Interstate 35W in Fort Worth has been a headache for years, but highway expansion work is creating new issues.

When the interstate backs up because of construction between Northeast Loop 820 and U.S. 287 in north Fort Worth, cars and tractor-trailers seek alternative routes -- right into the Chisholm Ridge neighborhood north of Basswood Boulevard and west of I-35W.

"There used to be children who played in this area; not anymore," said Tony Perez, vice president of the Chisholm Ridge Home Owners Association.

As drivers discovered the Horseman Road shortcut, cars and big rigs began barreling through residential streets at high speeds.

"A lot of drivers don't realize they're entering into a residential area, and they may not know exactly where they're going, and I've seen big rigs that have had to back up," Perez said.

Two Sundays ago, a car going too fast was unable to brake and took out a warning barricade. It nearly ended up in a backyard. And Perez said he recently had a near-accident with a big rig carrying hazardous materials.

Residents on both sides of I-35W say they are seeing more and more traffic these days.

"It's a fact of life," said Lance Griggs, Summerfields Neighborhood Association president. "I don't like it either. I've got a lot more semis running by my house than I'm used to."

He said that it doesn't help that many arterial streets north of the loop bottleneck, reducing lanes depending on the development in the area. Griggs isn't surprised drivers head to side streets to avoid traffic around the construction, but says both drivers and residents should be patient.

But he also says the side streets might not be a better alternative.

"If they asked me, I'd have told them, 'There's no way around it, because our residential roads are in the same shape,'" he said.

While the interstate expansion begins to take shape, residents such as Perez hope the city will act.

"We're not only concerned about ourselves, we're concerned about the other motorists coming through here and even the commercial drivers who don't know any better," he said.

Perez said the shortcut through his neighborhood is used around the clock. NBC 5 witnessed numerous cars speeding into the neighborhood, which is not easy to exit. There was also a consistent flow of drivers coming into the area from traffic signals on Basswood Boulevard.

Horseman Road connected Chisholm Ridge and Basswood Boulevard about a year ago, but the issues only recently came to light.

City Councilman Sal Espino, who represents the area, asked city staff on Tuesday to look into the residents' concerns. He hopes warning signs or other improvements can be used to keep semi-trailers from cutting through the neighborhood.

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