Come Summer, You May Want to Start Avoiding LBJ Freeway. Like You Don't Already.

Several Friends of Unfair Park have asked in recent weeks: When should they begin avoiding LBJ Freeway, which, of course, is about to become the "LBJ Express"? (To which I replied: What, you don't already avoid LBJ Freeway? I know, right? Hilarious!) One Friend asked in particular because he espied construction crews dropping drill shafts near the I-35/Loop 12 split, which began last week. Another noticed crews relocating some utilities near the Hillcrest exit, which is already causing lane closures along frontage roads. And several Friends have remarked upon the removal of trees up and down the freeway since the beginning of the year.

Lara Kohl at Trinity Infrastructure, which is handling construction on the $2.7-billion redo, says this morning that's really the only work drivers will notice over the next two, three months -- along, she says, with the construction of residential sound barriers that'll go up during the summer. But, once again, she reminds: It's about to get real messy.

"I will tell you, starting this summer the HOV lanes will be going away," she says. "We'll have an announcement on that once we have a date for that closure, and obviously that'll be the first impact the traveling public will see. What we don't know is if it's the lane going away or if the HOV is going away. That'll be the first true sign of construction."

But she insists it won't be till "later this year, early next year when people will see construction really starting to impact their regular travel." She can't be more specific because the time line's not yet locked down; that's about a month off. Nevertheless, once it starts it'll last a good, long while -- till 2016. Kohl says those needing to know more can attend an open house they've scheduled on April 21 from 1 to 8 p.m. at the Dallas Sheraton North. At which point you'll be able to see maps and, matter of fact, the video you see above.