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Trinity Turnpike, Downtown Dallas

Last updated 17-June-2001

The Trinity Turnpike is a proposed 8-lane tollway that will begin at the intersection of US75 and I-45 on the southeast side of downtown Dallas, extend around the south and west sides of downtown Dallas along the Trinity River, and connect to I-35E near the I-35E/114 intersection. (See map.) In the very long run, it may be extended westward.

The main objective of the Trinity Turnpike is to ease the gridlock of the downtown Dallas "mixmaster" by providing an alternate route. Although the Trinity Turnpike has strong political support, it has been dogged by controversy. The controversy seems to intensify as time goes on, even though Dallas voters narrowly approved $84 million in bonds for the facility in 1998.

At issue is the master plan for the Trinity River, which envisions a grand park with lakes and recreational areas in the wide flood plain. Environmentalists say that an 8-lane freeway along the flood plain levees or in the flood plan will detract from the park. However, the most economical way to build the freeway/tollway is to build it just inside the levees on both sides of the flood plain (one direction on each side.)

Status, 17-June-2001
On 17-June-2001, the Dallas Morning News reported on a Trinity Corridor study that seems to be pointing in favor of a low-speed parkway. But this is just one input factor in the decision process. All information needed for the decision should be available by the end of 2001, when a decision could be made. But if history is any indication, delays are likely.

In spring 2001, the North Central Texas Council of Governments considered some amendedments to the long-term transportation plan. One amendment would change the designation of the facility from 8-lane parkway to 6-lane limited access freeway/tollway.

In November 2000, the Dallas Morning News reported on severe cost escalation of the project. The original cost was projected at $439 million. The revised cost is now between $620 million and $1.2 billion, depending on the design option selected. The currently preferred design will cost $669 million. As reported by the Dallas Morning News, this would leave an unfunded gap of $435 million. Ouch.

See the full story in the 11-November-2000 Dallas Morning News article .

A follow-up article was published on November 15, 2000. It confirms that there is still widespread political support for the Trinity Parkway, but prospects are uncertain because of the inflating cost.

Look for a decision on the alignment to be made in 2001. I don't see an imminent solution to the funding problem.

Trinity Turnpike location map
The route of the Trinity Turnpike is in green. The future extension of the Woodall Rogers Freeway to cross the Trinity River, a funded project, is in red.

 
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