That bowl of spaghetti that is the Skillman/Audelia/LBJ interchange will become a beautiful – and safe – gateway into Lake Highlands when construction on the new Skillman Bridge is completed. Representatives from the City of Dallas, Texas Department of Transportation, Lake Highlands Public Improvement District and neighborhood civic groups gathered for a ceremonial groundbreaking Friday.
“Years of work has finally got us to this moment,” wrote Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Adam McGough on Friday. “From engaging on social media, to traveling to Austin to ensure our policy makers heard our voice, to design to safety; each moment is worth celebrating.”
The $1.74 billion price tag includes a signature bridge over LBJ at Skillman, a reconfiguration of the Skillman/Audelia intersection, sound walls along LBJ and expansion of LBJ from 75 to I-30.
“This Skillman Bridge and the sound walls are what our community was begging for, for so many reasons,” said McGough at the groundbreaking, “quiet enjoyment of our homes, to be in the backyard, to be able to sleep at night despite the noise of LBJ.”
“It’s truly the most dangerous intersection,” continued McGough, “not just in our city but in the entire region, by almost double.”
Planning for the project began in 2006 while Bill Blaydes represented Lake Highlands on the city council, and continued into Jerry Allen’s term and McGough’s. The funding later fell into jeopardy when it was tied to optional managed toll lanes and the widening of LBJ. Neighborhood volunteers travelled to Austin to promote #LBJNow and fought off grandstanding legislators determined to kill the project.
“It’s been 14 years since we had our first meeting with TXDOT,” recalled Susan Morgan, who led the fight. “We asked ‘what do we have to do to fix this intersection?’”
North and south of LBJ, Audelia will merge with Skillman in a “T” fashion, instead the confusing “barbell” shape currently used. Construction is expected to last less than 4 years.