Monday, July 21, 2008

'Back to the Future': Tolls return to I-30

Part of I-30 may return to tolled past

July 21, 2008

Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Copyright 2008

Drivers on Interstate 30 may soon go back to the future.

The highway opened in 1957 as a toll road, the Dallas-Fort Worth Turnpike.

Twenty years later it was converted to a toll-free interstate after the debt issued to build the road was paid.

But North Texas leaders are once again planning to collect tolls on part of the road, possibly by next year.

The Texas Department of Transportation is building reversible high-occupancy vehicle lanes in the median of I-30, from the planned Baird Farm Road bridge in Arlington to downtown Dallas.

Existing lanes would remain toll-free, as required by federal law, but the HOV lanes would be available to drivers of single-occupant vehicles who pay a toll.

Car poolers would still use the HOV lanes for free or at a discount. Details are still being worked out.

Toll amounts would vary depending on congestion at the time.

Toll collection would be electronic.

Car owners could either open a TollTag account or just wait for a bill to arrive in the mail.

The Transportation Department would photograph license plates of cars without TollTags and send a bill to the registered owner.

The Transportation Department is conducting an online survey of drivers’ attitudes toward the concept of charging tolls on high-occupancy vehicle lanes. To take the 10-minute survey, which will be available through August, visit

The "HOV managed lanes" are under construction from Texas 360 to Baird Farm Road in Arlington and from Loop 12 to downtown Dallas.

The portion between Texas 360 and Loop 12 is open and for now is being operated as a traditional HOV lane — open only to vehicles with two or more people.

To keep up with the ongoing I-30 construction in Arlington, visit

I-30 timeline Most of the high-occupancy-vehicle lanes being built on Interstate 30 are in Dallas County. They’ll only stretch as far west as Baird Farm Road in Arlington. But I-30 has a rich history from one end of Tarrant County to the other.

1949 A stretch of highway then known as Texas 550 is completed from Camp Bowie Boulevard to Summit Avenue in Fort Worth.

1957 The Dallas-Fort Worth Turnpike opens. Texas 550 is redesignated I-20 (later I-30).

1958 Original Mixmaster completed at I-35W interchange.

1972 Title of I-20 transferred to southern portion of Loop 820.

1977 Turnpike converted to toll-free road and renamed to I-30 after debt paid off.

1990 Freeway widened to as many as eight lanes between Loop 820 and Summit Avenue.

1991 East Loop 820 interchange completed.

1997 Bridges rebuilt at Cottonwood, Johnson and Village creeks. Median barrier installed from Oakland Boulevard to East Loop 820.

2001 Stretch from I-35W to I-35E is renamed Tom Landry Highway in honor of the late Dallas Cowboys coach.

2003 New Mixmaster completed at I-35W interchange. Ramps rebuilt from Oakland Boulevard to East Loop 820. New bridges built at Oakland and Beach streets.

Sources: Texas Department of Transportation, Star-Telegram archives

GORDON DICKSON, 817-685-3816

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