Skillman over I-635 by Danny Fulgencio

Skillman over I-635 by Danny Fulgencio

Another rush hour means another probable tangle at the intersection of I-635 and Skillman. Last January we launched a series on the revitalization of the Lake Highlands area north of I-635 (LBJ) and learned that many experts see fixing that one twisted crossroads as the key to widespread improvements.

Susan Morgan has been leading the LBJ-Skillman Interchange Task Force review committee since 2006. Her group worked with Texas Department of Transportation and Omniplan architects to plan a realignment of Skillman that includes an iconic-looking at-grade bridge that straightens Skillman, modifies the Audelia intersection and frees up some nine acres of existing right-of-way land which will become an opportunity for new development.

Morgan says it’s a long and difficult process, but we’ve reached a couple of milestones. An environmental analysis recently was completed. That means that the plan has been determined environmentally sound and can move forward in that respect. Morgan says some funding for the project also has been identified. The North Texas Council of Governments Regional Transportation Council has announced that the project is on a list of funded projects for the year 2019. That does not necessarily mean we will have to wait until 2019 to begin construction, Morgan says. It does mean we are on the list for funding, and that will move things along. TxDOT’s I-635 LBJ East project also includes funding for the Skillman bridge/realignment.

The detail design is about 80 percent complete at this point, Morgan says. It still could be a year or more before we see any construction. Preliminary preparations for construction such as right of way contracting and utility movement are underway.