If at any point over the last seven years you've found yourself on the east side of downtown Dallas, you've encountered it — the quagmire of detour signs, potholes and uneven pavement that have accompanied Dallas' quest to fix up Pearl Expressway and Cesar Chavez Boulevard on the eastern edge of the Central Business District. Road workers and their machinery have dotted the area for the better part of a decade, becoming part of the landscape around DART's Pearl Station and East Transfer Center.
If all goes according to plan, the workers could finally be pulling up stakes on one of Dallas' last pre-complete streets roads projects before the end of the summer.
According to the latest timeline of the project made public by Dallas City Council member Philip Kingston on Friday, workers should have tied up the project's loose ends, like traffic signal work and sidewalk and driveway repair, by Aug. 2, closing the book on a project that was approved for design in 2007 and began construction in March 2012.
The project has cost the city more than $17 million between design and construction, according to City Hall documents. Because of the time it's taken to complete — construction companies working on the project have claimed they've encountered multiple unexpected underground structures during the redo — Kingston says the project is already out of line with the city's vision for downtown.
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"If you're like me, you may also be driven slightly crazy when you realize that this is the last major downtown streets project approved before the adoption of the Complete Streets Design Manual," Kingston wrote on Facebook. "So no pedestrian-serving, multi-modal features; just pavement. And during the ludicrously long construction delay, we've already had two requests to narrow the finished design."
To bring the project in line with Dallas' latest requirements and make Pearl Expressway and Cesar Chavez Boulevard friendlier for pedestrians seeking to board a DART bus or train, the city will have to go back to work on the newly finished streets.
"Look for us to start undoing this project immediately upon completion," Kingston said.
What's over is never really over, especially when it comes to expecting streets you can drive on in Dallas.