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State Highway 161 Corridor Update
Posted Date: 3/16/2010

After four decades of planning, State Highway (SH) 161 is shaping up in Grand Prairie. By late 2012, all main lanes and frontage roads through the city are scheduled to be complete from Interstate Highway 20 to SH 183. Main lanes on the 11.5-mile corridor will be tolled and all frontage roads will be free of charge. SH 161 will be two lanes each direction from I-20 to Interstate Highway 30 and three lanes each direction from I-30 to SH 183.

Construction Status:

Interchange at I-20
Main lane interchange scheduled to be complete by 2012.

Main Lanes from IH-20 to Egyptian Way
Work begins in March 2010 and is scheduled to be complete in late 2012.

Frontage Road from IH-20 to North Carrier Parkway
Frontage roads opened in August 2009.

Main Street and Jefferson Street Bridges
Construction on bridges for Main Street and Jefferson and the Union Pacific railroad tracks will begin in March 2010. SH 161 main lanes will pass under the bridges. Frontage roads will remain at normal street level. Construction is scheduled to be complete in late 2012.

Interchange at IH 30
Scheduled to be complete in late 2012.

Egyptian Way to SH 183
Two main lanes are open north and south bound. All lanes will be complete by December 2010.

Main Lane Interchange at SH 183
Completed in August 2009.

Road Closures

West 14th Street will close at the Main and Jefferson railroad crossing in March 2010. There will be lane closures on Main Street and Jefferson Street during the construction of the railroad crossing. The city of Grand Prairie and North Texas Tollway Authority will provide alternative routes.

Why is SH 161 a Toll Road?

There are several reasons SH 161 is a toll road:

  • The Texas Transportation Commission, which oversees the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), passed an order declaring that all new highway projects be analyzed to determine if tolls were feasible.
    SH 161 met all of the criteria to become a toll road.
  • SH 161 was already funded using the gasoline sales tax revenue. However, other projects in the state were using this revenue source and funding for SH 161 became scarce.
  • To construct SH 161, it was decided that the main lanes would need to be funded without gasoline sales tax revenue. This meant that a toll road would be the best way for construction to begin.
  • To make SH 161 a toll road, it had to go through a Comprehensive Development Agreement (CDA) process, which allows a group of private investors to design, construct, operate, maintain and collect tolls. In return, the CDA pays upfront money for the right and shares in the profit at a future date as specified in the agreement.
  • Because the road was approved as a free facility in the federal lawsuit brought on by several residential groups in Grand Prairie, TxDOT conducted a public hearing seeking input regarding the tolling of SH 161 main lanes.
  • To gain Grand Prairie’s support of the toll road, the North Central Texas Council of Governments and TxDOT pledged nearly $100 million for road projects in Grand Prairie. These projects were selected by Grand Prairie City Council and staff:
    - I-30 frontage roads – primarily between Belt Line Road and MacArthur
    - Park and ride facility – south side of I-30 east of Belt Line Road
    - I-20 frontage roads – Belt Line Road (FM 1382) to Carrier Parkway
    - Hunter-Ferrell – Widen from two lanes to four lanes between Belt Line
    and Story Road
    - MacArthur Boulevard – Widen from two lanes to four lanes between
    the Trinity River and I-30
    - Camp Wisdom – Widen from two lanes to four lanes between Carrier
    and Belt Line (FM 1382)
    - Gifford/Bagdad – Construct new four-lane roads to connect to I-30 and
    - Lake Ridge Parkway – Construct new six-lane divided roadway from
    Polo to I-20 at SH 161
    - Wildlife Parkway – Extend Wildlife Parkway from Hardrock over the
    Trinity River to SH 161

SH 161 Toll Booths

Tolls on SH 161 are collected by the North Texas Tollway Authority (NTTA) and toll booths will be all-electronic toll collection (all-ETC) facilities. This means that the toll booths will not accept cash. Drivers with toll tags will be billed on their toll tag account. Drivers without toll tags will have a ZipCash account created based on their license plate information and bills will be sent to them at home.