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Historic Dallas / Fort Worth Freeway Planning Maps

Last Updated August 2000

1964 - The outer loop is designated as a freeway (Map not available at this time.)
1967 - The plan shows an incredibly dense inner city freeway network for Dallas
1971 - The aggressive plan remains intact, but storm clouds are on the horizon.
1973 - The aggressive freeway plan is wiped out. (Maps and report are not available here as of August 2000.)
1978 - The resulting plan looks more like the existing mobility plan.
2000 - The currently adopted plan.

1964: The outer loop is designated as a freeway
Source: Dallas County Development and Outer Loop Needs, issued August 8, 1964

This was the first report to recommend an outer freeway loop for Dallas on a full 300 foot (91m) wide right-of-way. Previously, the route was planned as an arterial road on a 120 foot (37m) right-of-way. As of 1964, contruction on Dallas' first loop, I-635, had just begun.

The north segment of Loop 9 was nearly constructed prior to the freeway construction bust of the early 1970's, but it was stopped "because of the selfish interests of a few landowners" in the north Dallas area, according the main architect of the outer loop plan. The plan for the outer loop in north Dallas was near death in 1980, but survived. See a detailed article on the origins of Loop 9 from the Dallas Morning News.

Map August 2000: This map was part of a special collection and will need to be ordered as a print. I'll put it online when I get it.

The 1967 Plan
Source: Dallas Fort Worth Regional Transportation Study, July 1967

The 1967 map shows an incredibly dense network freeways in the central Dallas area. It also shows two north-south freeways on the east side of Dallas, a Plano Loop freeway, and numerous other freeways. See the table below for the full listing of unbuilt freeways from this plan.

1967 Forth Worth1967 Dallas
Note that the northern alternative (alt 1) for the North Dallas East West freeway was selected as the preferred route. The table below shows all freeways from this plan that were cancelled.
North Dallas East-West Freeway  
East Dallas North-South Freeway  
Garland North-South Freeway This area remained devoid of freeways. A light rail line is now under construction (August 2000) to serve this area.
Garland East-West Freeway  
Garland I-635 to Outer Loop Connector  
Plano Loop  
Oak Cliff East-West Freeway  
Oak Cliff North-South Freeway  
366 (Woodall Rogers) Eastward Extension to
North Dallas East-West Freeway
Note that the westward extension of Woodall Rogers over the Trinity River was recently funded and should begin construction in 2003. It is intended to connect to the proposed Trinity Tollway.
River Freeway to I-30 connector (West Dallas)  

The following freeway is unbuilt but still alive.

River Freeway Still alive as the Trinity Parkway Tollway. A Major Investment study recommended several routes for further consideration. As of 2000, it is not certain if and when the western part of the Trinity Tollway will be built. The Eastern section of the Trinity Tollway around downtown Dallas (which is not included in the 1967 plan) has partial funding and is currently embroiled in controversy.

A few routes not included in the 1967 plan have been built or will be built.

North Dallas Tollway north of Outer Loop (190 Bush Tollway) This section of the Tollway up to highway 121 was completed in the mid 1990's. There are plans to extend the Tollway further northward.
121 Lewisville Bypass and 121 Freeway The Lewisville 121 Bypass was completed in 1999, although most of it is still a feeder facility. The full length of 121 from DFW airport eastward to McKinney will become a freeway.
114 Freeway, west of DFW airport to I-35W Sections of this freeway are under construction as of August 2000. Feeders and the Roanoke bypass were recently completed on the western part of this segment.
170 Freeway, Far North Fort Worth Feeders for this freeway were constructed in the early to mid 1990's. The right of way is 400 feet (122m) wide and will accommodate a large freeway. There is no timetable for construction the freeway main lanes.
1971 - The agressive plan remains intact.
Source: Dallas - Fort Worth Regional Transportation Study, Interim Report 1971.

1971 DFW

Map Note: In the wide area maps, the proposed freeways in Dallas were indicated by brown ink, which had faded in the document. If you look closely, you can see the names of the proposed freeways. The paths are visible by the white streak (where the brown line used to be.) In the Dallas downtown area, the brown ink of the paths of the proposed freeways is still visible.

The 1971 interim revision contained very few changes to the 1967 plan. As the report notes,

"..all revisions were minor in nature, and the (1967 plan) remains basically unchanged since its inital adoption."

The 1971 map shows that the northern alternative for the North Dallas East-West freeway was selected. Also, the configuration of the freeway network at the northern entrance to the Dallas - Fort Worth Regional airport (then under construction) was revised to the as-built configuration.

Although the agressive freeway network was still included in the plan, there was an ominous block of text on page 77.

"The 1985 Recommended System has several recommended freeways, especially in Dallas, which are located in densely developed corridors. Much opposition has developed in the past 5 years to construction of such freeways in some areas of the country. There is some local opposition, albeit less than would seem to be the case in the national news media. This opposition is a reflection of changing community values which must be recognized and respected to the extent of the credibility of such opposition. This is now in existence the Regional Public Transportation Study which specializes in the feasibility of mass transit for the Dallas - Fort Worth area.
(future study to answer the question)
If public transit is an acceptable alternative, what freeways can be eliminated from the recommended plan?"

The next full review of the DFW transportation plan would occur in 1973.

1973 - The dense freeway network is wiped off the map
Unfortunately, I was not able to find this plan at the UT library here in Austin. It will be interesting to get that document to read the official post-mortem of the cancelled freeways.

1978 - A more realistic plan emerges
Source: 1978 Transportation Program for North Central Texas
1978 DFW freeways
1978 DFW detailed
The 1978 plan is similar to the plan that is currently in effect (the Mobility 2025 plan). However, the 1978 plan includes the cancelled mid-cities freeway, the full length of the River Freeway, and still does not include freeway improvements that have actually been built.

Mid-cities freeway. This freeway would have been a northward extension of the 161 freeway and would have been parallel to and to the west of I35W.

River Freeway. The full length of the River Freeway is shown from downtown Dallas to downtown Fort Worth. As described in the 1967 section, only the eastern half of this facility is still under consideration. The western segment from 360 (south of DFW airport) to downtown Fort Worth is dead.

North Dallas tollway. The 1978 plan shows it terminating at the outer loop (190 Bush Turnpike.) It was extended northward in the mid-1990's and will be extended even further north.

114 west of DFW airport, 121 northeast of DFW airport, 170.. These routes are not shown as freeways in 1978.

2000 - The new Mobility 2025 plan
The Mobility 2025 plan plan includes the outer loop around the entire DFW metroplex, not just Dallas. Only two freeways were cancelled as compared to the previous version of the official document. 121 on the north and west sides of downtown Fort Worth was cancelled. The 199 freeway inside I-820, connecting to the cancelled section of 121, was also cancelled. These cancellations are associated with the current 121 controversy.
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