Trivia question: Who were the first to travel the completed I-35W in Fort Worth?
Answer: The longhorns and drovers of the Fort Worth Herd.
The $1.6 billion I-35W project officially opened on Thursday, two months ahead of schedule. The 60-year-old infrastructure has been completely rebuilt with 21st century design and safety, expanded capacity and two managed TEXpress lanes in each direction.
“This is a project that has come together from a lot of sources in order to get the funding we needed for a project of this magnitude,” said Mayor Betsy Price just before she cut a ribbon that ceremonially opened the lanes. The first to use the new roadway was the Fort Worth Herd, followed by a parade of police and fire vehicles and antique cars.
“This road is known as the NAFTA Highway,” Price said. “It has been a critical avenue for international trade. And the Alliance development sits halfway between Mexico City and Montreal, our No. 2 and 3 top trading partners. That’s how important this highway is to North Texas.”
The 10.1-mile corridor stretches from I-30 in downtown Fort Worth to the U.S. 287 Decatur cutoff in northern Tarrant County. As segments of the I-35W highway system have come online, traffic has continued to grow, even during construction. The highway is now moving 132,000 vehicles a day as opposed to a preconstruction level of 110,000 vehicles.
The construction work is a joint project involving the Texas Department of Transportation, the City of Fort Worth, Tarrant County, the North Central Texas Council of Governments, NTE Mobility Partners and North Tarrant Infrastructure/Webber.