After decades of planning and discussion, freight traffic could finally have an alternative highway loop around Dallas that saves them from bottlenecks along Interstate 35.
The Loop 9 project will add a connection between two interstates in south Dallas – I-35 East and I-45 East. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins has made the project a priority since winning his seat in 2010.
“Loop 9 will create good jobs and increase the tax base in southern Dallas County while moving many 18-wheelers off I-35 and I-20,” Jenkins tweeted July 12.
The stretch from I-35E to I-45, known as Segment B, will cost around $450 million. Dallas County is currently finishing up acquiring the right of way and construction is expected to start in 2021. It will eventually consist of six lanes with frontage roads.
Jenkins hopes that by extending Loop 9, connecting I-35E and I-45E, and eventually to Interstate 20 during a later construction phase, Dallas will have a true outer loop “where you’ll be able to bypass in your truck—your 18-wheeler—Dallas entirely,” he said in an interview with D Magazine.
Once completed, Loop 9 could create a highway loop that can move freight traffic around the entire city of Dallas by avoiding I-35 and running it out somewhere north going towards the Texas-Oklahoma state line.
Jenkins also views the potential of turning the vast stretches of the 50,000-acres of undeveloped land along Loop 9 into manufacturing and logistics hubs.
Officials with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) said both residents and truckers should benefit from Loop 9.
“We heard from the locals that it was important to build that connection between I-35 and I-45 first,” Tony Hartzel, a spokesman for TxDOT, told D Magazine. “That would give truckers another option, not having to go all the way up to I-20 and back down to I-45, for example, or vice versa.”
The area where the Loop 9 project is coming to is home to the Inland International Port of Dallas – a 7,500 acre hub of trucking, rail and warehouse distribution centers.
Officials said Loop 9 allows TxDOT to plan ahead of the anticipated growth and projected traffic between I-35E and I-45, due to the growth of the International Port of Dallas, which is trying to become a major hub for goods from China.
“Heavy truck traffic from the Inland Port intermodal freight facility near I-45, coupled with ongoing international freight movement may put even more pressure on the local transportation system,” according to TxDOT.