Construction on N. White Chapel Boulevard between SH 114 and Emerald Boulevard has been a major topic lately. Road closures, lane switches and major construction have all had some type of effect on our commute to school, work or just day to day activities. In order to understand what is going on, let’s take a dive into the “Why”.
The Tarrant County region is rapidly growing and as more motorists utilize our roadways, an increase in traffic is expected.
In order to plan for the future growth of the region, the City and associated traffic, the City developed the Mobility Master Plan, which is a component of the City’s Comprehensive Plan. This plan has developed recommendations for roadways, sidewalks and bicycle facilities with the intent of meeting the City’s mobility related goals and objectives.
The widening of N. White Chapel Boulevard and SH 114 and Emerald Boulevard has been a recommended project in the City’s mobility plan for a number of years.
N. White Chapel Boulevard between SH 114 and Emerald Boulevard is a main road that travels through Southlake. Being that N. White Chapel is a highly accessible roadway, it is important that mobility and transportation needs are met. In order to accommodate our residents, pedestrians and the traffic, the City devised a plan to expand N. White Chapel Boulevard.
Regarding the Comprehensive plan, once projects are included as a recommendation, those items can be included in the City’s Capital Improvement Program, often referred to as the CIP. The CIP plan is a five-year plan that includes but not limited to the purchase of construction or replacement of the City’s physical assets, roads and highways being one of them. So how does this all work together? The overall goals and objectives of the Mobility Master Plan and the CIP both help implement the goals and objectives of the City’s Comprehensive Plan. With approved recommendations and funds allocated toward the project, the expansion of N. White Chapel Boulevard has been well underway.
The project involves expanding the two-lane road to a four-lane road divided roadway with a dual-lane roundabout at the intersection at Highland Street.
The project will be completed in two phases, one which is the construction of the roundabout at Highland and the widening of N. White Chapel from SH 114 to Highland and two, the widening from Emerald to Highland. “By increasing the roadway capacity, this will help improve traffic operations and provide safety for residents and visitors,” said Senior Director of Planning and Development Services Ken Baker.
The City will also incorporate aesthetics such as trees, shrubbery, street lighting, trails and other amenities that adhere to Southlake’s street design standards. The project will also include utility and drainage improvement.
The widening is an estimated $10.825 million capital investment in the City’s transportation system.
To date, crews have installed water lines, new sanitary sewer lines, new storm drains, paved portions of the roundabout and paved portions of north and southbound lanes. Council recently approved an Engineering Services Agreement for Phase II of the project which includes landscaped medians, a replacement screening wall on the East side of N. White Chapel along with sidewalks and installation of a traffic signal at Ascot Drive. This will surely improve mobility in Southlake.
Major construction began in 2018 and is estimated to be completed by 2021.