Irving, Texas. March 19, 2009 –
If you drive by the closed Dennys on MacArthur Blvd and 183 you will notice the reason for the closing written on the windows. The closing is due to the future expansion of Highway 183.
Talk about the expansion of Highway 183 started back in 2001. After engineering and environmental assessments, the Texas Department of Transportation put together a recommended plan of action that includes the reconstruction of SH 183 with widening from 6 to 8 general purpose main lanes, and a managed high occupancy vehicle (HOV) system from SH 360 to a connection with the I-35E HOV system.
It is logical that a project of this magnitude will take time and money. In order accomodate the width of the reconstructed highway, properties will need to be acquired and demolished. As of today, Mayor Herbert Gears reports that 31% of the properties along 183 have already been purchased and 19.42% are under eminent domain.
What about timelines? Mayor Gears explains, "The question of when, specifically as it relates to the required removal of utility lines, is still largely unknown. As the current legislative session in Austin progresses, dates will become firmer, but what is known right now is that the city will not be required to move power lines before mid-2010 at the earliest. And it has been suggested that 2012 is the much more likely scenario. Of course, we have stressed that the city needs as much lead time as possible, and we have assurances from TxDOT, with whom we are in daily communication, that we will be the first to know."
The earliest construction could begin is in 2010, but retaining and sound barrier walls will have to be constructed first and again, utility lines will have to be moved.
What is the cost and who is paying for it?
The costs for utility relocation have not been determined yet. "Right now, the city would pay 50% of the cost", said Mayor Gears, "but we are working with TxDOT to reduce the percentage. Leveraging Irving's toll authority to reduce costs is a distinct possibility."
SH 183 has been a major transportation corridor since the 1940's. In 1959, SH 183 was reconstructed from a two-lane asphalt roadway to a four-lane divided freeway with frontage roads. At that time, SH 183 had a design speed of only 50 miles per hour (mph). In response to population and employment growth in the DFW region, an additional main lane in each direction was added in 1973. Since 1973, no major operational improvements to SH 183 have been constructed within the project limits. As a result, SH 183 is not capable of handling current and future traffic demand in its current condition.
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