Street Squad - Behind the construction of the LBJ Express projec - Dallas News |

Street Squad - Behind the construction of the LBJ Express project

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It's been two years since groundbreaking along the busiest corridor in Texas, I-635 in North Dallas, and the LBJ Express project is still two more years away from completion.

But phase one opened last weekend, and it highlights managed lanes in the middle of the freeway.

"The roads in L.A. have 16 lanes or maybe 20 lanes," said Jason Sipes, CEO of the LBJ Express. "This is probably one of the widest lanes in the country that we are going to have here on our facility."

When finished, the nearly $3 billion LBJ Express project will be one of the most technologically-advanced in the country.

"A little over two years, we've seen all this happen, and you look at it and they're about $1.8 million dollars a day is what they're spending a day out here," said Tony Hartzel with the TXDOT.  

Phase one of the project, a 3.2 miles stretch from Greenville to Hillcrest, opened early last weekend, marking the first ever toll lanes that guarantee you'll travel at least 50 miles an hour.

"It's the first one in the country that says you're willing to use our express lane, we're willing to see what we can do," said transportation director Michael Morris.

Michael Morris says it just makes sense.

"The beauty of having free lanes and express lanes is you can adjust what that toll is every six minutes and manage the flow on both of the corridors in order to optimize the 50 mile an hour speed on the express lane," said Michael Morris, transportation director.

The lanes will carry fluctuating tolls depending on time and traffic. 

"For all intents and purposes, your toll tag is the key," said Hartzel. "You just get in the lane and the sign will show how much the cost, and you just decide whether you want to get into the managed lanes or you want to take the general purpose lanes."

Officials think the project will pay off.

"For me, the big picture is it took 10 years to rebuild Central Expressway, and that was about $600 million. We're spending $3 billion and it's getting done in five years, really four years," said Hartzel.

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