FORT WORTH, Texas — As rail cars rolled past local officials on a newly built track at Union Pacific Railroad’s Davidson Yard, Union Pacific Chairman and CEO Jim Young announced that the railroad has accomplished the first critical milestone in paving the way for construction of the Southwest Parkway.
This new, temporary-use track is a vital part of the operation of Davidson Yard because it is the track that guides rail cars to the incline, or “hump,” where the cars are separated from each other and then guided by switches into destination-specific tracks. The new track was built to enable the North Texas Tollway Authority (NTTA) to begin its construction of an overpass that will run over Davidson Yard.
The news was welcomed by Fort Worth Mayor Mike Moncrief, NTTA Chairman Paul N. Wageman, Texas Transportation Commissioner William Meadows and other local officials present to see the new track in operation.
“Davidson Yard is a critical location that connects U.S. companies to the Southern California ports, eastern U.S. and Mexican gateways,” Young said. “The temporary hump lead allows us to continue delivering shipments for businesses in the Fort Worth area and across the country while the NTTA moves forward with a much-needed solution to traffic congestion in North Texas.”
Union Pacific’s key north-south and east-west routes meet in Fort Worth, making it a vital transportation hub. Equipped with 69 sets of railroad tracks, Davidson Yard is one of Union Pacific’s largest freight classification facilities. Operations include more than 100 daily train movements to handle in- and out-bound trains. A significant number of these trains deliver a variety of commodities to businesses in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
“Our citizens have been waiting a long time for Southwest Parkway,” Moncrief said. “Easing traffic congestion and preserving our air quality continue to be among the primary concerns for our region. The completed temporary hump lead gets us one step closer to our goal. I want to thank my fellow council members, our city staff and our partners at Union Pacific and NTTA for their commitment to moving this project forward. We’re excited about turning dirt soon on the Southwest Parkway.”
Southwest Parkway is an 8.7-mile limited-access toll road. It is part of a 28-mile roadway that will run from the Fort Worth central business district through southwest Fort Worth to Cleburne in Johnson County. The project will enhance the mobility between downtown Fort Worth and the rapidly developing areas in southwest Tarrant County, reduce traffic congestion, and enhance safety and convenience for the traveling public.
“Southwest Parkway, the NTTA’s first project in Tarrant County, is a long-anticipated mobility link for North Texas. Upon completing the remaining steps, we look forward to breaking ground on this critical project,” Wageman said. “I am pleased with the progress that has been made in recent months and attribute that to the commitment and spirit of collaboration of our Southwest Parkway project partners.”
Union Pacific will now begin building railroad tracks on the north side of Davidson Yard. Those tracks will be used for railroad operations while construction crews working on Southwest Parkway occupy the current tracks. Prior to construction beginning, the final cost and design of Davidson Yard must be determined, a traffic and revenue study and the SH 161 finance plan must be completed and the development of a project agreement between NTTA and TxDOT must occur.