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New DFW Connector: Safer, Faster Travel to the Airport

New DFW Connector: Safer, Faster Travel to the Airport

In Texas, they built it faster

We’ve all been there before: on our way to the airport for a business trip or a vacation or to drop off a loved one, and as we get closer, the traffic gets worse, and our anxiety rises as the clock continues to tick towards take-off time.  Well today, I was proud to be in Dallas to celebrate the opening of the DFW Connector, a major transportation project that will ease congestion for residents and visitors in and around Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. 

The Connector is a prime example of a transportation project that creates jobs and has a positive impact on the quality of life for people.  It’s why we provided $260 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds for this effort, making it our largest ARRA highway investment.

The Texas Department of Transportation estimates that more than 500 jobs were created for the work needed on the Connector.  The end result is a route that significantly improves safety, mobility and air quality for those traveling in the D/FW Airport area by doubling the number of lanes available and providing direct connect ramps where none previously existed. Goodbye, delays from traffic signals. Hello, managed toll lanes that’ll keep traffic moving at 50 mph.

In addition, TxDOT used environmentally sound practices when building the DFW Connector project.  More than 25,000 tons of rebar and other steel were recycled, along with 600,000 tons of concrete. That alone saved taxpayers $6 million. DFW went all in with green tech, too, by using global positioning satellite data as a way to track every piece of construction equipment used on the project, reduce vehicle idling and use resources more efficiently. And by arming project team managers with tablet computers, everyone in the field could get real-time construction updates that reduced the need for paper plan sheets.

Equally impressive is how quickly this billion-dollar project was constructed. TxDOT used design-build – an Every Day Counts innovation from our very own Federal Highway Administration – to deliver the Connector nine months earlier than planned.  Time is money, and Texas is saving taxpayers both with the DFW Connector.   When it comes to building a model of transportation efficiency, the Lone Star State has done it faster, with a world-class transformation of highways that has raised the bar on project delivery.  Now that’s what I call a smooth arrival.

Victor Mendez is the Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration

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