Mckinney Courier-gazette > News
TxDOT plans to finish 121 work by 2010
By Josh Hixson, McKinney Courier-Gazette
State Highway 121 began tolling Dec. 1 between Farm-to-Market 2281 in Carrollton south to the Denton/Dallas county line near Denton Tap Road on the portion of the project that was completed in June.
The Texas Department of Transportation's newly initiated tolling system utilizes a gantry system that replaces the traditional toll booth.
TxDOT's vision for a booth-free tollway will reach the Plano area sometime in 2010, said TxDOT spokesperson Mark Ball. Before it reaches U.S. Highway 75 in 2010, the tollway must first be extended from FM 2281 in Carrollton to Hillcrest Road. Ball said the proposed interchanges, one at U.S. 75 and the other at the Dallas North Tollway, are projected to be opened in 2011.
The highly controversial move to toll the state highway is the reason TxDOT was able to begin the widening of the highway ahead of schedule, Ball said.
“The area around State Highway 121 has grown dramatically over the years and the plans were to widen 121 but the lack of available funds would have put the widening of the highway far down the road under the old gas tax plan,” Ball said. “By making it a tolled road, we were able to widen 121 much earlier.”
TxDOT is expecting to create a proposal Jan. 8 to perform all remaining work along the 121 corridor and begin operations and maintenance of the facility for 50 years.
The Texas Transportation Commission is expected to approve the plans for the rest of the 121 Tollway at its Feb. 22 meeting. TxDOT anticipates that they will begin construction on July or August 2007, said Bill Compton, TxDOT's project engineer for the Dallas District.
The rest of the other four segments that make up the entire five-segment project still await construction.
Segment two, which runs from FM 2281 to Hillcrest Road, is being worked on through other contracts. The portion of the work that TxDOT is responsible for under current contracts is expected to be complete by February 2008. A selected developer must then complete additional work and open main lanes to toll service by July 2008.
Segment three, which runs from Hillcrest Road to the west side of U.S. 75, will require the work of a developer to build the main lanes and overpasses and is expected to be complete by December 2010.
Segment four, an interchange at U.S. 75, which includes extending the expressway lanes over U.S. 75, constructing a frontage road box through the interchange, reconstructing U.S. 75 main lanes and adding six direct connect ramps is projected to be complete by July 2011.
The final stage of the project, segment five, which is phase two of the interchange at S.H. 121 and Dallas North Tollway, requires a developer to construct eight direct-connect ramps from S.H. 121 to the Dallas North Tollway; other ramp modification is required to accommodate other operational concerns. The final segment is projected to begin in spring 2008 with completion expected by fall 2011.
For information on the SH 121 Tollway project, visit www.keepitmovingdallas.com and click on the S.H. 121 link.
Contact staff writer Josh Hixson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 972-398-4255.
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