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161 Freeway

Last Updated 26-August-2002, created July 2000

It was a long, long wait, but the federal courts finally dismissed all legal challenges to the full length of the 161 freeway in the mid-cities in February 2000. (See the news article.) The project is moving forward. When complete, the 161 freeway will connect with the 190 Bush Turnpike "super-connector", providing a continuous roadway across the north Dallas and then through the mid-cities.

A 3 mile segment of the 161 freeway was constructed in the early 1990's on the southeast side of DFW airport, from 183 northward to Belt Line. Feeder roads were built in the mid-1990's from Belt Line north to I-635.

In July 2000, four direct connector ramps costing $18.9 million were completed at the intersection of 183 and 161.

A $36.8 million contract to build connector ramps at 161 and I635 was completed in late 2001 or early 2002.

The TxDOT Unified Transportation Plan shows two 161 projects scheduled for a FY 2003 letting. The first is a $63.9 million project to complete the five-level interchange and 183. Half of that interchange was completed in July 2000. The second contract is a $10.8 million project to build 1.8 miles of frontage road north of Interstate 20, which is at the south end of the project limits.

North of Belt Line Road, 161 is a tollway. The main lanes opened near the end of 2001.

For the future freeway section between 183 and IH-20, a March 15, 2001, article in the Arlington Morning News reports that contruction on the feeder roads at IH-20 will begin in 2003. The feeder road construction will work northward from IH-20. Right-of-way acquisition is currently in progress. The article reports that right-of-way acquisition effort is being focused on the part of the highway where homes and business will be displaced, since this is most time-consuming.

161 DFW location map  
161 DFW wide area map
161 in the context of the DFW freeway network.

Currently, the southward extension is authorized for right-of-way acquisition and engineering. Right-of-way acquisition is in progress. The table below summarizes the estimated expenditure. (Data is from the TxDOT 2001 Unified Transportation Plan.)

Schematics provided by Jason Eargle

To the right is a location view of the 161 freeway in the section that was controversial. North of I-30, the affected park can be seen. The loss of park land was one of the majot sources of controversy. TxDOT is providing mitigation. South of I30, 161 cuts through a neighborhood. It was the neighborhood that had kept the litigation alive for so long.
High resolution map
161 location
161 area map
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All information is unofficial and "AS IS" with no guarantees for accuracy. All schematics are preliminary except as noted.