Fort Worth

Changing the Interchange: Makeover for I-20, Loop 820, Highway 287 Connector

It's time to change the interchange -- specifically, the one where Interstate 20, Interstate 820, and U.S. 287 come together, The Texas Department of Transportation says.

The agency is currently conducting a study to determine how they can improve the interchange from both a congestion and safety standpoint.

"The citizens are probably going to laugh at this particular answer -- but I hope they know that we know this has been a problem for some time," said Michael Morris, Transportation Director for the North Central Texas Council of Governments, which helps steer how TxDOT money is spent in DFW. "We've had to get some other projects done. So now we're here."

The way the interchange is currently configured, several of the connectors between the three highways include left exits. That, in turn, forces drivers to move across multiple lanes of traffic over a very short distance to get to the exit they're trying to reach.

When combined with the congestion in the area, it creates a hazard TxDOT would like to fix sooner than later. They estimate that more than 250,000 vehicles go through the interchange daily. Within the next 20 years, they expect that number to nearly double.

"It will be a massive upgrade in mobility and safety for Southeast Tarrant County," said Val Lopez, spokesperson for TxDOT.

Some of the proposed fixes include adding more general purpose lanes through the area and reconfiguring the interchange so it only has right exits that are easier to navigate.

Whatever the final plan looks like, it won't come cheap. TxDOT estimates the project will cost at least $1.2 billion.

Morris says NCTCOG -- specifically their Regional Transportation Council -- is already working to secure the funds.

"We have most of the money for this," Morris said. "We're probably approaching $800 million already in hand. So this project is going to happen."

If all goes according to plan, construction could begin by 2022.

TxDOT is hosting a public meeting on July 19 to get citizen input on the project. That meeting will take place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Dunbar High School in Fort Worth.

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