The Texas Transportation Commission today is expected to approve a contract with private developers to build futuristic toll lanes on Tarrant County highways beginning in late 2010.
But while the move would add long-overdue space for cars, it would come at a price for motorists. All the new lanes would be toll lanes, at least initially, officials said.
The first phase of the "managed lanes" on Northeast Loop 820 in North Richland Hills and Haltom City, as well as Texas 121/183 Airport Freeway in Bedford, Euless and Hurst, would be completed by 2015, according to the North Tarrant Express project that the commission will consider during a meeting in Austin.
Single-occupant vehicles could use the four new lanes — two in each direction — by paying a toll electronically, with a device such as a TollTag. Buses and vehicles with multiple occupants could use the lanes for free or at a discount. Violations would be camera-enforced.
Supporters say the area is two decades overdue for traffic relief, and they’re willing to accept tolls.
"We’re elated," North Richland Hills Mayor Oscar Trevino said. "We’re OK with the managed lanes, as long as we get some lane capacity. If we don’t start somewhere, we’re never going to get this accomplished..."