A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at Thompson Pipe Group in Grand Prairie to celebrate the completion of the MacArthur Boulevard widening and reconstruction project from Interstate 30 to Hunter Ferrell Road on Monday, March 5.
The newly renovated MacArthur Boulevard was expanded from a two-lane asphalt road to a four-lane thoroughfare spanning from Interstate 30 to just north of the Trinity River on Hunter Ferrell Road. Other components included construction of two 700-foot bridges, a drainage overflow channel to prevent flooding, retaining walls, new railings, street lights and traffic signals. The project cost around $20 million and took two years to complete.
Dallas County Commissioner Dr. Elba Garcia said MacArthur Boulevard has been a major source of connectivity from Coppell to Grand Prairie.
“When we look at MacArthur, what is it now, it connects perfectly to Hunter Ferrell on the Grand Prairie side,” Garcia said. “If you go over to the Irving side, we also have the twin parks, and we’re going all the way to Coppell now. It’s over 10 to 15 miles of connectivity from Coppell all the way to Grand Prairie. When you look at the big picture, it’s getting better and better for both cities and Dallas County.”
Grand Prairie Mayor Ron Jensen said the project’s completion is a great boon to not only his city, but to his neighbors in Irving as well.
“It’s easy when you do projects for your own city,” Jensen said. “But it gets a little more complicated when you do a project like this because some people ask, ‘Why do we need this?’ But when you think about it, when we have big crowds at Verizon, [MacArthur] is how we get out. When I do one of my ‘Cycle with the Mayor’ events, we cycle through here. It benefits both of us, and that’s what regionalism and partnerships are all about.”
Irving Mayor Rick Stopfer echoed Jensen’s sentiments, and said the project’s success was a testament to the solid working relationship between the two cities.
“It truly is a bunch of partnerships that made this happen,” Stopfer said. “When we first started looking at how we were going to do this, these actually were orphan roads. They were roads that nobody was really taking possession of, both the Hunter Ferrell and MacArthur at this end. We were able to come together through the leadership of Dallas County and Commissioner Garcia to bring these forward and look at how we could work together. It’s been a great partnership. We are so fortunate in Irving to have Grand Prairie as a neighbor.”
The project was not without its challenges, however. Romin Khavari, City of Grand Prairie City Engineer, said MacArthur Boulevard was one of the most challenging projects he faced in his 33 years as city engineer. He and his team faced a number of issues during construction, including flooding rains and new utility allotment, all while still ensuring access to vital businesses in Grand Prairie.
“Our challenge was to make sure that Thompson Pipe and Forterra were open, as well as the landfill, and we were able to do that,” Khavari said. “When we suggested possibly shutting down the road to expedite [construction], we were told by the council we don’t want to do that, because it is the access to the Verizon Theater and the entertainment district. It took a while, but we were able to complete it within budget, as well as ahead of schedule.”
Despite the challenges, Khavari was pleased with the end result, especially when he saw the finished project in action and working as intended.
“Last week, after having the wettest February on record, I drove down the road and looked at the Trinity River getting outside of its bank and actually flowing over into the overflow channel we constructed as part of the project, basically functioning as designed,” Khavari said.
Dr. Elba Garcia hopes this new road will help further the strong relationship between Irving and Grand Prairie and that both cities will prosper from it.
“It’s infrastructure, it’s connectivity, it’s vision, and more importantly, it’s growth and economic development on both sides for Grand Prairie and for Irving,” Garcia said.