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Construction Pain For Long-Term Gain With Mixmaster Highway Horseshoe Project
The Horseshoe project will add capacity and improve safety in the Dallas Mixmaster, where I-35 and I-30 cross.

Columns are sprouting, highways are being rerouted and displaced drivers are fuming.

Managers of the “Horseshoe” project, which is remaking part of downtown Dallas’ highway system, say the pain will eventually bring relief.

If you’ve driven north on Interstate 35 from Oak Cliff, you know what awaits you as you approach downtown Dallas.

It's a juggernaut of criss-crossing entrance and exit ramps that feed into Interstate 30 where the two highways meet. It’s a maze of road connections called the Mixmaster.

The $800 million effort to replace portions of the Mixmaster and related arteries and expand others is already underway.

It’s called the Horseshoe project because of the U-shape the roads form where they meet.

Katrina Keyes, a spokesperson for Pegasus Link Contractors, the partnership constructing the Horseshoe, says some old pavement and supports are crumbling.

“The area over here has about 37 bridges and many of them were built in the 1930s and 1950s," she said. "So we are going to repair some and also build some new bridges.”

Another goal is relieving gridlock. Contractors are building additional lanes. At the widest point, there will be 23 lanes at Jefferson Avenue and the Houston Street Viaduct.    

Keyes says for the most part construction won’t close road segments because new lanes are being built outside existing ones.

“We’ll have some lane closures at night but there aren’t going to be two lanes shut down for six months or 12 months," Keyes said. "We’re going to shift into different lanes while we’re doing construction."

Bob Stevens, with Pegasus Link Contractors, says one of the biggest benefits may be new north-south connections.

“Currently if you were to travel from the south side of the river, you would have to get on interstates and merge into traffic in order to get downtown and get stuck in traffic," Stevens said. "At the end of this project we’ll have connections where citizens on this side can get into Dallas without jumping on the major interstates."

The Horseshoe is scheduled for completion in three years.  The project website includes maps, a construction schedule and details on how to sign up for notifications about roadway changes.

Former KERA staffer Shelley Kofler was news director, managing editor and senior reporter. She is an award-winning reporter and television producer who previously served as the Austin bureau chief and legislative reporter for North Texas ABC affiliate WFAA-TV.