Drivers can expect a major change on the Monday morning commute in south Denton County next week.
Weather permitting, the 35Express construction team plans to open the new connector-distributor road between the Sam Rayburn Tollway and the President George Bush Turnpike on Saturday morning.
The road will act as a direct connection to take traffic exiting the SRT directly to the PGBT without ever merging onto Interstate 35E, unless drivers chose to exit onto the interstate.
Drivers on I-35E wishing to take the PGBT will also have to enter the connector via an exit just past the SRT.
The change will only be on the southbound side for now, with a northbound connector-distributor expected to open in the spring.
By keeping the additional traffic off I-35E, engineers hope the daily morning and afternoon backups that have plagued drivers on the two-mile stretch for years will finally become less frequent.
Brian Siegel, a medical device salesman from Highland Village, said that the rush-hour backups on the stretch have slowed down his mobile business for as long as he can remember.
"That's the issue, is people coming off of Sam Rayburn just to get onto George Bush," said Siegel. "It's just an influx right there. Everybody just bogs down."
CJ Schexnayder, spokesman for the 35Express project, said the design is the first of its kind in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and will likely take some getting used to for drivers, especially for those accustomed to entering the PGBT from I-35E slightly farther south. He said the first days of the new pattern will likely come with some confusion.
"Drive slower, leave a little bit earlier, look for the new signage and be aware," said Schexnayder.
New signs and permanent barriers directing traffic onto the new connector will likely go into place overnight Friday into Saturday.