Smoother roads are up ahead for frontage roads east of Welch Road.
Along eastbound and westbound LBJ between Welch and Preston Road, most frontage roads will soon be paved with stone-matrix asphalt, or SMA, which will be the final and permanent layer of asphalt for the scheduled areas. (List provided below)
SMA pavement operations are monumental along the LBJ Express project. Since construction broke ground, frontage roads were the first to be ripped up, torn out and reconstructed with temporary pavement while utility relocations, roadway drainage installation and other roadway construction prerequisites ever took place.
During the construction phase, frontage roads were paved about 1.25 inches below final grade, which is acceptable for driving but is not the last layer. This explains why some sections of roadway, such as those where drainage inlets were installed, appear slightly elevated compared to the rest of the pavement. These elevated sections around inlets are tapered to provide a smoother transition for drivers.
With SMA on the schedule, it typically is a sign that the digging and trenching is complete in the area, and what is left is surface work such as aesthetical improvements, including permanent paving. SMA will even out transitions and will provide a much better driving experience for commuters.
Drivers may have already gotten a taste of driving on SMA-paved roads on the completed sections of LBJ. Prior to our Phase One opening last December, large stretches of frontage roads and main lanes between Preston and Coit Road were paved in long runs, leading to full lane closures.
Being one of the final things to cross off the list before being considered “complete,” paving the last layer of surface dressing all at once in long stretches will provide a much better quality end product, with less joints and more durability.
Schedule of Operations
Starting this week, throughout the month of October, the LBJ team plans to pave SMA on frontage roads between Welch and Preston. Motorists may experience some delays while work is being performed, and are advised to plan ahead and seek alternate routes, if possible.
The first stretch of SMA will be placed along the eastbound frontage road between Welch and the Dallas North Tollway:
Wednesday, Oct. 1st to Friday, October 3rd
- From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. – The eastbound frontage road between Welch and the DNT will be reduced to one lane. The access to Drexelwood Dr. fromt the frontage road will also be closed.
- From 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. (overnight closures) – The eastbound frontage road between Welch and the DNT will be fully closed. The eastbound exit to Inwood will also be closed at this time, as well as the access to Drexelwood from the frontage road. Detours: Motorists may use Welch and Harvest Hill to maneuver around the closures. Those coming from the eastbound I-635 main lanes may instead take the eastbound exit to Midway.
Sections Pending for SMA Placement:
- Eastbound frontage road between the DNT and Montfort
- Eastbound frontage road at Montfort intersection
- Eastbound frontage road between Montfort and Preston
- Eastbound frontage road at Preston intersection
- Westbound frontage road from the Preston on-ramp to Montfort
- Westbound frontage road at the Montfort intersection
- Westbound frontage road between Montfort and the DNT
- Westbound frontage road between DNT and Welch
- Westbound frontage road at Welch intersection
* Information on SMA paving and associated closures will be updated accordingly, as scheduled.
Note: Operations may be postponed or delayed if necessary due to weather, equipment issues, scheduing, etc.