Rogue I-35E Drivers Causing Headaches for Oak Cliff Neighborhood

Some Oak Cliff residents are seeing red over the construction along I-35E. They said it's sending a steady stream of highway traffic through their small neighborhood, leaving behind a trail of damage.

Normally, you can take Beckley to access the interstate on-ramp to the north, but right now it's closed at east Yarmouth. Still, that isn't stopping drivers from taking a detour.

“It's semi-trucks, big tractor trailers, here comes another one right now,” said Gregory Bowden. “When one vehicle goes, they all go.”

Bowden is frustrated over drivers going rogue, cutting through his East Clarendon neighborhood, despite the signs reading “local traffic only.”

“You see the telephone pole was totally taken out, power lost because semi-trucks are trying to navigate those turns, it's impossible,” he said, pointing to damage along the newly repaved streets. “You can see the tire marks and at the end of the block you can see all of the cracks in the cement.”

The roadblocks on Beckley for utility, work mark just a small part of the construction being done for The Southern Gateway Project. The barricades may cause short-term headaches, but they’ll hopefully lead to long-term relief. Over the next few years, crews will widen I-35E to five lanes in each direction in southern Dallas and add two reversible, non-tolled express lanes into and out of downtown to help with rush hour. Highway 67 will see improvements too. The project will mean permanent closures for some other ramps like the "Zang" exit that are no longer up to code.

But for Beckley, the closure is temporary. A Southern Gateway spokesperson says they've listened to complaints and recently added more signs warning "no outlet" and "local traffic only." The problem is, some drivers may be seeing them too late and don’t want to backtrack.

“Once you turn on Beckley, there's no way getting out, you have to come down these two streets, so why not close off Beckley entirely?” Bowden asked.

The project’s spokesperson said the answer isn't so easy, because of a church and other businesses in the area. So for now, some residents are left to worry.

“My neighbor here just got hit down the street. The other neighbor, his boys almost got hit night before last,” Bowden said.

He’s not the only one who hopes drivers pay more attention.

So far, there's no hard end date to the barricades on Beckley, blocking the on-ramp access, but the spokesperson said it should only be a few more months. The entire expansion is expected to complete by the end of 2021, including the infrastructure for a new deck park by the Dallas Zoo. Right now, drivers in the area can access the northbound lanes of 35E from either Twelfth Street or Ewing.

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