- The Texas Department of Transportation has selected the joint venture of Balfour Beatty US and Fluor Enterprises to design and build the $625 million Southern Gateway highway project in Dallas, according to the Dallas Business Journal.
- The joint venture will add a fifth lane in each direction along an 11-mile stretch of Interstate 35 and build two reversible, non-toll express lanes as well. The team will also rebuild an I-35E interchange and add a third lane in each direction for a connecting highway.
- The project is part of the TxDOT's Clear Lanes initiative, which targets the state's most congested roadways. Construction on the Southern Gateway, which sees 180,000 commuters daily, should begin late this year and wrap up in 2021.
In March, Texas officials announced an $8.9 billion plan to take on 230 state highway projects. State budgetary proceedings and the amount of federal funding allocated to the state could change the figures, but if the initiative comes to fruition, Houston-area Interstate 45 will see the lion's share of investment.
The prospects for federal funding for state transportation initiatives are better, now, as the latest $1 trillion rendition of a federal spending bill, meant to keep the government running until the end of September, retains the federal highway grant programs that President Donald Trump proposed eliminating in his 2018 budget.
What has not made an appearance yet in any Trump-led legislation is a plan to fund the $1 trillion infrastructure plan that was a lynchpin of his campaign. At one point, insiders believed that he would make it part of a tax reform measure, but that never came to pass.
In contrast to uncertainty in Washington, Texas is moving full steam ahead with large highway initiatives. In early April, crews broke ground on a $500 million overhaul of U.S. 281 through San Antonio. The five-year project will be completed in two phases and will ease traffic congestion by adding motorist, pedestrian and bicycle lanes.
The Grand Parkway in Houston also got a $1.25 billion boost earlier this year from the Texas Transportation Commission for a 44-mile tollway extension. Once the Grand Parkway is complete, motorists traveling the entire length will have to pay more than $10 in tolls, but, despite some complaints, the operational section of the parkway logged more than 10 million toll transactions in January.