Miracles Mired in Construction
By OCGPR Staff | March 2, 2015
Like many people in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex, a daily challenge is slogging my way to work through congested ‘work-zone’ filled roads. It’s not surprising that many folks don’t believe we are at critical mass in transportation infrastructure funding when it seems like anywhere you drive in our region you will more than likely encounter road construction, but that’s another story.
I’ve been in and around the transportation industry for many years. I am aware of the back-stories of inadequate funding and the challenges of building roads from conception, planning, design and construction to a finished project. Somehow, all that knowledge doesn’t relieve the anxious churning in the pit of my stomach as I attempt to navigate the least congested route free of major lane closures or accidents as I race, I mean, crawl, to my chosen destination. On my way, there is plenty of time to wonder and worry whether or not I will arrive on time or get caught in a traffic accident back up, despite my best efforts to ‘know before I go.’
A self-proclaimed recovering Type-A, the other day I took back my time. I was productively organizing and planning my ‘to-do’ list while sitting in traffic and thoughts of the Lewisville Lake bridge, a cornerstone piece of the 35Express project, wandered across my mind. As I remembered a recent aerial photo of the construction on the bridge, I thought, “Perspective.”
We are witnessing an engineering feat, the rising of a Phoenix of sorts (and a significant funding accomplishment for that matter), right before our very eyes. For example, from a bird’s eye perspective you can see that the new bridge currently under construction, which will carry southbound lanes of traffic, is over twice the size of the existing bridge. The existing bridge currently carries both the south-and northbound lanes of traffic. The new southbound bridge that is under construction is 7798 feet long; that’s nearly a mile and a half in length! Some of the drilling for the drill shafts is as deep as 120 feet. And of course it is over the large body of water known as the Lewisville Lake, which is one of the most popular lakes in North Texas. In other words, there are two construction zones- one on the road for the motorists and one in the water for the boaters.
Driving through these construction zones, upmost in my mind is paying attention to the signs, watching for any traffic pattern changes, and watching for my exit. But think about what it takes to create a traffic plan that is subject to available resources, weather and must accommodate 200,000 cars and trucks everyday. The DFW Connector, the project north of DFW Airport that included SH 121 and SH 114, is now complete, but during construction it seemed like traffic shifted and exits and entrances changed almost daily. Painful as it was for drivers, they finished ahead of schedule and that’s definitely a happy thought worth celebrating with a snoopy dance.
So the next time you find yourself frustrated with your commute through construction zones, think about the miracle that is taking place right before your eyes. But keep it in your mind’s eye so you can keep your eyes on the road ahead!
What construction miracle are you waiting to see? I’d love to know! Share your thoughts in the comments below.