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Dallas May Be Adding Another Elevated Highway

As the state tries to find a way to make the proposed Trinity Toll Road work with Dallas’ present-day infrastructure, it may inadvertently pit two Dallas neighborhoods against each other.

The question is what to do about the Jefferson Viaduct. If the toll road is built, the current viaduct—which carries traffic to and from Oak Cliff and downtown—would be too short, and need to be torn down. So there are two options on the table:

Option A, the “Oak Cliff Option”: A brand-new bridge will be built, and it will pass the Oak Farms Dairy site, bisect Burnett Field, and connect Jefferson and I-35, a block north of Lake Cliff Park. Height: four stories. On the downtown side, the proposed design will bisect the rear lots of the City’s Convention Center.

Option B, the “Cedars Option”: Another brand-new bridge, connecting downtown to the Cedars with an elevated highway and flyovers (again) up to four stories.

Both would likely be six lanes.

This idea has been on the books for a while, but has never drawn much attention. It comes up in the 2007 NCTCOG Mobility 2030 report—proposed cost then: $61 million—and Roy Appleton mentioned it in a Morning News piece last year. Councilman Scott Griggs describes the plans as “35 percent complete”; TxDOT spokesman Tony Hartzel said “it really is just a discussion right now.” Griggs has seen the plans, and asked for copies. His request, he said, has not yet been fulfilled, and described the plans as “under lock and key.”

“That’s not right and this is a false choice that pits Oak Cliff versus the Cedars,” he said in an email. “It’s time Dallas and the people of Dallas are in charge of transportation planning. That’s the right choice. We need to be masters of our destiny. We’ve worked too hard to be set back 100 years, which is what an elevated highway will do.”

As with everything transit-related in Dallas: to be continued.