The Road Closure That Has Some People Celebrating

A Dallas freeway will be closed this weekend, but some people are thrilled about it.

Woodall Rodgers Freeway will shut down from 7 p.m. Saturday through 5 a.m. Monday to begin installation of 316 beams for a deck park.

The freeway is being transformed into a tunnel from North Pearl Street to North St. Paul Street, with an overhead park that will connect Uptown and downtown Dallas.

"It is going to be audacious," said Linda Owen, president of the Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation. "It is going to be vibrant. I think it's going to unify our entire community. There is going to be something happening in that park every day of the week."

The park foundation is holding a picnic Saturday at Routh Street and Woodall Rodgers to celebrate the beams' arrival. Visitors will be permitted to decorate a beam between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m.

"Ultimately, once the infrastructure is complete, the beam will be surrounded, and so we decided it's sort of a Zen-type opportunity to make our mark on a new historic landmark in the city of Dallas," Lafitte said.

The Texas Department of Transportation scheduled the freeway closures to avoid holidays and other big events, such as the State Fair of Texas.

"That's difficult to do, because there are a lot of events in downtown Dallas," TxDOT spokeswoman Cynthia Northrup White said.

Interstate 30 will be the detour route for the main lane closure on Woodall Rodgers. The feeder road on Woodall Rodgers will remain open during the beam installation.

More Woodall Rodgers Freeway closures will be scheduled over the next few months to complete construction of the deck. Park construction will begin with a separate contract once the deck and tunnel are finished.

The Park is due to open in 2012. It is the result of private contributions and public investments, Owen said.

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