TxDOT, Arlington Break Ground on Major Interchange Project

New interchange between I-30 and S.H. 360 expected to be completed in four years

Simply mention the current "interchange" at Interstate 30 and State Highway 360 and eyes are likely to roll, whether you're talking to a busy mom or the mayor of Arlington.

"It feels a little backwards the way it is now," said Courtney Powell, who lives in Arlington.

"I've had an office near this interchange since 1984 and I've had to put up with going through a signalized intersection for over 30 years now," said Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams.

Although the two highways cross each other, there is no direct connector between them. To get from one to the other, drivers have to take exit ramps and side streets, use frontage roads and make turns, and wait at traffic lights.

"It should be seamless and smooth," said Powell. "You shouldn't have to hit traffic or go through a stoplight to make that transition."

The unusual configuration was designed for the toll booths that were there decades ago, and although those have gone away the interchange has remained unchanged.

The Texas Department of Transportation says fixing the interchange has been a top priority for years, but until recently, the state didn't have the money to cover the high costs of the project.

That changed when Texas voters approved Proposition 1 in 2014. The measure pumps a portion of the state's oil and gas tax dollars into the state's highway fund, which can then be used to pay for transportation projects like this one.

"It's time for a few improvements here in the center of North Texas," said Williams.

Wednesday, Williams and other local and state leaders broke ground on a new $233 million interchange that will directly connect both highways.

Construction is expected to last four years, meaning there will be some added headaches for drivers who use the highways to get to places like Six Flags Over Texas, AT&T Stadium and Globe Life Park.

The Texas Rangers say the short-term pain is worth the long-term gain.

"As we get into it, it's critical that we as the teams are able to communicate with our fans, working with TxDOT, so that everyone understands what they're up against," said Rob Matwick, executive vice president of business operations for the Texas Rangers. "But we're very excited about the improvements that will be made to I-30 and 360. It'll just ease the traffic flow in and out of the entertainment district."

The Cowboys and Six Flags also expressed their support for the project.

In an emailed statement, the Cowboys wrote, "The construction represents progress and long term improvement. We will work closely with all parties involved to give the fans of our events the most information possible to ensure the most accessible routes to the stadium."

"We're supportive of the expansion that's taking place," said Six Flags Over Texas spokesperson Sharon Parker in an email. "We are working closely with our entertainment district partners, the City of Arlington, and the Texas Department of Transportation to create the most convenient, hassle-free access to our theme park and water park, as well as to entities in and around our area, throughout the construction process."

Powell and other drivers admit dealing with the construction won't be fun, but say it beats the alternative.

"I can see the light at the end of the tunnel," said Powell. "I think that the end project will be worth the traffic in the meantime."

"The opportunity to have a free-flowing ramp directly on these highways, it's going to be tremendous," said Williams.

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