Today, state Representative Chris Turner joined transportation officials and other area elected leaders to celebrate the opening of the much anticipated 360 Tollway and to unveil a plaque honoring civil rights icon Rosa Parks. This project has been a priority for Turner since his first election to the Texas House of Representatives in 2008. Slightly more than half of the ten mile project is located within House District 101.
“With so much growth in southeast Tarrant County and House District 101, this is a critical project for our community and I am honored to have played a role in making the expansion a reality,” said Turner. “I take great pride in seeing Rosa Parks’ name on a major portion of the highway. Naming the highway after such an important figure in our American history not only honors her contribution to the Civil Rights movement, but also celebrates the rich diversity of our community.”
“When I first took office in 2009, one of the first things I heard about in my earliest town hall meetings in Arlington and Mansfield was the 360 corridor. People would ask how can we get this road built. The traffic is only getting worse,” said Turner. “That was nearly a decade ago, and when we think about how many more people live in Southeast Tarrant County today and how many more are coming our way, thank goodness this day has finally come.”
In 2009, after hearing from constituents about the need to address SH 360, Turner organized the SH 360 Working Group. The group included city and county leaders, representatives from the North Texas Tollway Authority (NTTA), Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), and the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG). The group met through 2010 and made much needed progress; so much so that the then-NTTA executive director wrote in a letter to Turner that “(the) SH 360 Working Group has been essential to the progress that has been achieved up to this point…”.
After formal agreements between NTTA and TxDOT were signed in 2013, Turner worked to ensure that project funding remained available. During the 2015 legislative session, an amendment aimed at blocking funding for these types of projects was added to a transportation bill. Upon learning that this measure could derail the project, Turner met with the Chair of the House Committee on Transportation and other stakeholders, including agency officials, to get an iron-clad assurance that funding would not be impacted and that the project would move forward as planned.
During the 2017 legislative session, Turner authored and passed the measure to name the HD 101 portion of the 360 Tollway the Rosa Parks Memorial Parkway. During today’s opening ceremony, Turner unveiled a plaque replicating the marker that has been placed alongside the highway.
The Legislature had granted NTTA primacy – the exclusive right to construct the road – more than a decade ago. Existing service roads will remain non-tolled and have been improved. The new main lanes will mean less traffic and better flow and safety on the non-tolled service roads.