LBJ East may hold the title of being the area’s most controversial — if not convoluted —transportation project.
Both the Regional Transportation Council (RTC) and the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTOG) identified LBJ East as a high priority. The agencies agreed that the 10.8-mile stretch between Central Expressway and I-30 needs improvements because of incessant traffic and constant car crashes, which also hinders economic development.
Planned upgrades include 10 free lanes, four optional express toll lanes, frontage roads and sound walls. The project was consolidated with the construction of the bridge at Skillman and Audelia to expedite the process.
After the project was given the green light, anti-tollroad leaders Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Senators Bob Hall and Don Huffiness pressured the Texas Department of Transportation to halt the project.
“We’ve gotten new legislators in Austin who have campaigned on a no-toll platform. Basically, they’ve been blocking progress since 2015, which is potentially going to delay our bridge project as well. The last two legislative sessions have failed to produce a viable alternative,” said Susan Morgan, an 11-year veteran of a committee tasked with fixing LBJ.
City Councilman Adam McGough led a meeting this past week to update residents about LBJ East’s status. In case you weren’t one of roughly 200 attendees, here’s what you missed:
- Plans for LBJ East are at a standstill, and that won’t seem to change for the foreseeable future. Although no one at the meeting had any concrete solutions, McGough advocated that residents who support the project contact legislators in Austin.
- Without the optional tolled express lanes, LBJ East would take $653 million from other projects around the area or extend construction by several years.
- This isn’t the first time the project has been delayed, besides intervention from anti-toll politicians. People advocated for the road to be below ground, so it was redesigned. Construction also was halted to allow time for the construction of a sound wall.
- The LBJ East project includes the Skillman Bridge to ease traffic flow. The intersection of 635 and Skillman is the most dangerous intersection in the city, with over 360 accidents (more than double any other intersection in the city).
Additional reporting by Elissa Chudwin.