Kiewit completes 12-year major roadway project in Texas
By Riley SimpsonJuly 27, 2021
After more than a decade, construction and engineering firm Kiewit has completed the final part of the Dallas-Forth Worth Connector project, which has totaled $1.5 billion since the design-build started back in 2009.
NorthGate Constructors, a joint venture between Kiewit and Zachry Construction, collaborated with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) on the metro area’s infrastructure improvements.
The final link in completing the Connector project was the $383 million upgrade to the Interstage 635/State Highway 121 interchange, located north of the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport in the suburb of Grapevine.
Construction on that last portion was started in 2018, and the interchange is now substantially complete and open to traffic six months ahead of TxDOT’s original deadline, according to Kiewit.
The project as a whole, called Connect 4 due to the four rebuilt interchanges, will offer welcome relief from traffic congestion and commuter frustration, Kiewit said.
“The old interchange had a lot of weaving that caused slowdowns, depending on whether you were going south to the airport or east to Dallas,” said Steve Cochran, project director for NorthGate Constructors.
The 12-year process has been an exercise in longevity, and Cochran and project sponsor Tom Grim said that the Connect 4 project was a helpful training ground for many staff and craft workers – more than 20 Kiewit staff who worked on the decade-plus job are now sponsors, area managers or in higher positions at the company.
“We have folks that started on this project who decided to stay with Kiewit and travel to other projects in the region because of the experience they got working for us on the Connector,” Cochran said.
Grim said that there can be a lot of stigmas with “mega jobs” like the Connector project but that this team showed other communities how to successfully pull off a design-build job of this size.
“Our region’s continued growth, combined with TxDOT’s focus on enhanced mobility and creating connections, makes the timelines of this project’s completion especially significant,” said TxDOT Public Information Officer Michael Peters. “NorthGate’s open, continuous communication and their flexibility provided the foundation for a strong partnership.”