35W Coalition Quarterly Meeting Recap

If you were unable to attend our quarterly meeting on April 10, below is a recap. The full PowerPoint presentation from the meeting can also be found here.

Legislative Update 

The 35W Coalition, along with Tarrant Regional Transportation Coalition, is monitoring the status of several bills related to transportation funding and policy - a top priority for the coalition.

Russell Laughlin, president of the 35W Coalition, addressed more than 150 business leaders, elected officials and interested citizens at the meeting, urging them to stay committed to educating state legislators. It is essential that our North Texas delegation understands the need for more funding and supports transportation bills that could affect the future of transportation projects in the region and throughout the state.

As key bills move through committees, we will keep members posted and forward information about specific legislative outreach efforts. For a weekly recap of legislative activity and key bills, please go to our website.

North Tarrant Express/I-35W Reconstruction Update

Scott Hall, project manager with the Texas Department of Transportation, provided a quick synopsis of the $1.6-billion I-35W reconstruction project, which has been a primary focus of the 35W Coalition's efforts.

Construction is slated to start in May on the first of two segments (known as Segment 3B), a $244 million effort that will expand the I-35W freeway from North Loop 820 to U.S. 81-287. The second segment (Segment 3A) will enlarge the freeway from Interstate 30 to North Loop 820 by rebuilding existing lanes and adding two managed toll lanes in each direction. Construction for this $1.4-billion portion is scheduled for the summer.

NTE Mobility Partners (NTEMP), which will be developing Segment 3A as part of a public-private partnership, also reported on the progress of the Loop 820 and Airport Freeway reconstruction (Segments 1 and 2 of the North Tarrant Express). Robert Hinkle, director of corporate affairs for NTEMP, noted that: "We're on the downhill side right now, and we're moving right along," he said. "We have close to 2,000 people working on the project 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week, to get it done." Completion of this project is expected in mid-2015. For more information, please go to www.northtarrantexpress.com.

Tower 55 Project Advances

Aaron Hegeman, director of public-private partnerships for BNSF Railway, gave a brief status report on the upcoming Tower 55 project, which will add additional north and south railroad tracks through downtown Fort Worth in order to alleviate congestion, improve signals, replace railroad bridges, and improve street intersections to enhance safety in heavily trafficked areas.

Hegeman thanked the City of Fort Worth and other transportation officials for working so hard to help fund the $101-million improvement project. The Fort Worth City Council, at a recent meeting, agreed to provide an additional $1 million toward the work. TxDOT also committed $1 million, while BNSF and Union Pacific committed more than $65 million to the effort. The U.S. Department of Transportation invested in the project through its Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program.  
Once complete, in late 2014, Tower 55 will relieve freight rail congestion south of the Interstate 30-35 Mixmaster where five major freight and passenger rail routes converge and up to 100 trains pass every day. It will also increase rail capacity, making it more efficient for freight shippers and improving passenger rail reliability and performance.

Mark Your Calendars: North Tarrant Express Open House on Apr. 25

The North Tarrant Express (NTE) team, in collaboration with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), will host a public open house on Thursday, April 25, from 2 to 8 p.m., at the Radisson Hotel Fort Worth North (2540 Meacham Blvd. in Fort Worth).
The open house will feature updated schematics and animations for the current segments of NTE that are under construction along IH 820 and SH 121/183 (known as segments 1 and 2). In addition, there will be displays highlighting plans for the I-35W reconstruction (known as segments 3A and 3B), which will begin this year. Project staff and TxDOT representatives will also be on hand to answer questions.

The open house is free and open to the public; light refreshments will be provided. For more information, please call 1-888-NTE-2015.

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