US Department of Transportation

FHWA PlanWorks: Better Planning, Better Projects

Project Name: US 75 North Central Expressway
C03 Project ID: 60
Project type: Widening
State: TX
Topic Supports: Stakeholder Collaboration Application
The US 75 project comprised reconstruction and widening of a 9-mile segment of US 75 (the North Central Expressway) which was severely congested and widely recognized as unsafe. The planning was initiated in the 1970s as a federally funded project, but progress was stalled. It was finally implemented without any federal funding through a partnership between the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT), Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART), and the Cities of Dallas, University Park and Highland Park. This partnership existed from the initial stages of project planning based on a keen interest in improving the corridor.

Participation by local citizens was important in spearheading the project. Once the project was taken over by TXDOT and its partners, a key business leader in the Dallas area, championed the project, brought key actors together, and kept politicians under pressure to build it. This individual formed the North Central Task Force comprising three groups: policy makers (the governor, key mayors, and the task force chair); technical staff from TXDOT and the cities; and about 200 community representatives of neighborhood, business, environmental, economic, and political interest groups.

DART was integrally involved because the project was built in conjunction with the new North Central light rail line that follows the same alignment. A consistent design theme was followed for the North Central Expressway corridor and the new DART stations to create the appearance of an integrated facility. Key senior officials in DART worked with TXDOT to ensure a plan with the best end results for the public. DART also played a strong role in pushing for zoning changes that were implemented by the city to accommodate mixed use, transit-oriented development around the corridor.

TXDOT had a significant public involvement program to keep the project moving forward. The agency maintained transparency regarding decision making, responded aptly to controversies involving minority neighborhoods located in the vicinity of the corridor, conducted community meetings, and hired a communication specialist to guide the public relations process. Extensive media and community outreach was done to make sure that communities saw the potential benefits of the project.