DALLAS -Every day you drive Central Expressway to and from the office. Slowly you began to hate it. It must have
been the first-no, the third-fender bender that was the real clincher. You aren’t alone. But now is your last chance
to put in your two cents about Central if you haven’t already done it.
The engineers of the North Central Task Force, members of the Citizens Advisory Committee, DART, the Dallas City
Council and the Park Cities have all been studying for the past year state-of-the-art solutions to the traffic
congestion and hazardous driving conditions that continue to plague Central Expressway drivers. Task force chairman
Walter Humann and project director Stephen Lock-wood unveiled to the Dallas City Council in late May
what they believe are the best design options for improvements to Central. If implemented, the total reconstruction
of Central Expressway will be the largest transportation project ever attempted in the city. Humann asked all the
various groups to make a decision before September 1. That’s just about the time the task force will start to run
out of money, Humann says.
And that’s just about how much time you have left to tell your council representative or DART representative what
you think about any of the design options. Many people are finding out about the plan in their area’s town hall
meetings or at neighborhood meetings. If you need information, call the Task Force office at 670-4811.
For an idea of what to expect, look at the drawings. They represent four ways the southern segment of Central from
Wood-all Rodgers to just south of Yale could be redesigned. This southern segment has the most problems because the
right-of-way there is narrowest, which means the highway and rail transit have to share the same space.
● PLAN A: Requires lessright-of-way; underground transit tunnel is expensive; keepseight lanes of highway;
low visual and noise impact.
● PLAN B: Requires a lot ofright-of-way; keeps eight lanes of traffic; rail transit runs along center
median; less expensive.
● PLAN C: Calls for fourelevated lanes on the northbound side, rail transit underneath elevated lanes, four
southbound lanes below grade; lownoise impact; less costly than Aand B.
● PLAN D: Eight highwaylanes, rail transit elevated alongthe highway median; needs littleright-of-way; less
expensive;high noise and visual impact.
The middle segment reaches from Yale to just north of Meadow Road. There’s more right-of-way in this area, but the
segment is complicated by the Northwest Highway/Central intersection and several large developments. The tentative
plan for this segment includes eight lanes of highway below grade south of Park and a unique three-tier crossover
(approximately 45 feet high) at Northwest Highway that engineers call the “Dallas Diamond.”
The northern segment stretches from north of Meadow Road to LBJ Freeway and includes a problem interchange at Forest
and Coit and another at LBJ Freeway. The plan, however, is less complicated because rail transit can be built
independent of the highway. There would still be eight highway lanes with three-lane frontage roads on either
Although the Task Force is supposed to help keep the issue from becoming politicized, Councilman Dean Vanderbilt
has already asked which of the segments will be built first. Vanderbilt says he thinks it is important that the
northern segment (which falls in his district) be completed first because of the high volumes of traffic that
regularly clog the existing roads. And lastly, Councilman Al Lipscomb asked when Central south of Woodall
Rodgers was going to be studied. Humann asked that the council first decide on a highway design, because that will
affect phasing of construction.
So if you have anything to say about a project that will affect the rest of your driving life, say it now or forever
hold your peace.