Fort Worth, Texas – In a significant stride towards urban revitalization, the endeavor to overhaul East Lancaster Avenue in Fort Worth has achieved a substantial financial milestone, securing 60% of its requisite funding. The Texas Transportation Commission, in its most recent session, earmarked an additional $25 million for the transformative initiative.
More than $111 million have been collected so far for the East Lancaster Avenue transformation project
With this allocation, the amalgamated contributions from local, state, and federal agencies have reached a considerable sum of $111 million. The North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG), the orchestrating body of the project, estimates the endeavor’s comprehensive outlay to be in the vicinity of $182 million.
Under the proposed schematic, the extensive refurbishment would encompass the length of Lancaster Avenue stretching from Pine Street to Interstate 820. The overarching objective of the intervention aims to not only enhance safety measures but also to augment the thoroughfare’s amenability to pedestrians and cyclists.
East Lancaster Avenue in Fort Worth will undergo significant transformation and will be upgraded
Although engineering specifications remain in a consultative phase, there have been contemplative discussions among stakeholders about the incorporation of myriad enhancements, such as the establishment of specialized lanes to facilitate mass transit, the enlargement of crosswalks, and the integration of technologically advanced traffic signal systems.
“Right now, that’s a roadway where you feel like you’ve gone back in time,” NCTCOG senior program manager Jeff Neal said. “The idea is to find a way to make that corridor more conducive to the kind of activities the community really wants for that area.”
Fueling optimism is the prevailing sentiment that this substantial infrastructural infusion will act as a catalyst in attracting developmental interest, an aspect hitherto conspicuously absent for decades in the specified locale. Neal emphasized the transformative potential of the endeavor.
“You’ll have a corridor that looks and functions so much different than it does today,” Neal said. “It’s something tangible that can make developers say, ‘That’s really something.'”
For decades, Lancaster Avenue served as an indispensable arterial conduit, linking Dallas to Fort Worth and constituting an integral segment of the Bankhead Highway—a groundbreaking transportation vein hailed as the nation’s inaugural paved highway to traverse the continental United States.
“The history of East Lancaster is very auto-centric,” said Dan Haase, who lives off the road in the Central Meadowbrook neighborhood. “It doesn’t serve that purpose anymore.”
A plethora of motels and watering holes, vestiges of the Bankhead Highway’s bygone zenith, continue to flank Lancaster Avenue, their signage redolent of a past era. Yet, the thoroughfare witnessed a precipitous decline in long-distance traffic and local patronage alike, subsequent to the inauguration of Interstate 30 as a turnpike in 1957.
Although vehicular movement along Lancaster Avenue has substantially attenuated, its infrastructure—comprising six lanes—persists in being inopportunely calibrated for the pedestrians populating its adjoining neighborhoods.
“It hasn’t changed a whole lot,” said Haase, who’s lived in the area for 40 years. He jokes that when the road becomes less important, it will become more useful.
“I want to write that chapter,” he said. “Let this be more of a street that serves the neighborhood than serves the motoring public that no longer uses this route.”
Jeff Neal, Senior Program Manager at the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG), who is also overseeing the Lancaster Avenue refurbishment, confirmed that stakeholders are adequately equipped, in terms of resources, to commence pre-construction undertakings in alignment with the projected timeline.
Neal further elucidated that if all the logistical and financial variables adhere to the predetermined schedule, the groundbreaking phase of the avenue’s redevelopment could be initiated as early as the year 2026.
“If we can get that (remaining) money, we’re ready to go,” Neal said.