|Get started||Fort Worth|
According to Ablogtophone, State Route 121, commonly known as State Highway 121 or SH 121 is a state route in the US state of Texas. The road runs diagonally from Fort Worth through the northern suburbs of Dallas to Bonham in the northern part of the state, not far from the Oklahoma border. Only the section between Fort Worth and McKinney is currently a highway, and a significant portion of the route is a toll road, the Sam Rayburn Tollway (SRT). The route is 138 kilometers long.
Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex
SH 121 in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
The highway begins at downtown Fort Worth, and exits from Interstate 35W, running 2×3 lanes from here. It passes through the eastern neighborhoods of Fort Worth, and the suburbs of Haltom City and North Richland Hills. SH 121 then merges with Interstate 820, Fort Worth’s beltway. This double-numbering lasts only a short time, because on the northeast side of Fort Worth, near Hurst, I-820 exits west, while SH 121 runs east as the Airport Freeway. There are also 2×3 lanes here, passing through the suburbs of Hurst, Bedford and Euless. In Bedford, SH 121 turns northeast, while SH 183 continues east, to Irving and Dallas. At the northwest end of the international airport, SH 360 merges, a north-south link through Arlington and Grand Prairie, both major suburbs.
On the north side of the airport, the road is double numbered with SH 114. This lasts for a short time, however, and at the International Parkway interchange, SH 121 turns north, while SH 114 continues southeast, to Irving and Dallas. Almost immediately after, Interstate 635, the Dallas ring road, ends here. SH 121 then bypasses Lewisville, while SH 121’s business route passes through Lewisville.
In Lewisville, one crosses Interstate 35E, which runs from Dallas to Oklahoma City. From here there are 2×3 lanes available. You then pass by The Colony, an area that is still in full development. Plano crosses the Dallas North Tollway, a toll road that runs from Frisco to downtown Dallas. One passes through the northern districts of Plano, a suburb of 250,000 inhabitants. To the north is Frisco, a very fast-growing city, whose population has tripled since 2000 to 95,000 inhabitants. At the northernmost suburb of McKinney, SH 121 merges with US 75, the highway from Dallas to Sherman. This does not last long, however, and at Melissa SH 121 rejoins US 75.
One has then left the agglomeration, and the area is then the domain of the many ranches. It occasionally crosses another state highway, and at the hamlet of Trenton one crosses US 69, which runs from Beaumont to Sherman. The landscape is slightly sloping, with quite a lot of meadows, and occasionally smaller forests. Major intersections are grade separated. In the town of Bonham, the road ends at US 82, which runs from Sherman to Paris, both regions of northern Texas.
SH 121 Business
The 8-mile Business Route of SH 121 runs through Lewisville. This is a major urban arterial with 2×2 to 2×3 lanes and has a grade-separated connection to FM 3040 and Denton Tap Road. The road begins and ends on the main route of SH 121, and also connects to Interstate 35E. The road is the original route of SH 121 before the highway was rerouted outside Lewisville. SH 121 Business was established in 1999. 25,000 to 40,000 vehicles use SH 121 Business every day.
The section from Lewisville to McKinney is called the Sam Rayburn Tollway. The SH 121 is actually only the frontage road here, the main carriageway is unnumbered.
SH 121 was added to the planned network of state highways in Texas in 1928, connecting Fort Worth to McKinney. At the time, the road ran almost entirely through countryside. At the time, people left the built-up area of Fort Worth after only a few kilometers. Plans were approved in 1943 to extend SH 121 northeast to Bonham, but much of the road still had to be rebuilt here, which was not completed until about 1954. Since 1965, SH 121 has been running on the then recently opened freeway in Fort Worth.
SH 121 originates in the diagonal connection from Fort Worth to McKinney. The Tarrant County section was completed in 1930 as a two-lane road. With the growth of the urban region, the need for freeways increased, and in 1955 a diagonal connection first appeared on plan maps. In 1959, plans were unfolded for the Fort Worth section, between Downtown and I-820. This section opened to traffic between 1964 and 1969, with the last section opening on October 29, 1969. This relieved Belknap Street.
It was decided in the 1950s that the section further to Grapevine would not be constructed parallel to the original SH 121, but further south to open up the suburbs of Euless and Bedford, and join a section with SH 183. In 1962 this section was granted planned freeway status. Construction on the highway began in the late 1960s between Hurst and Bedford, opening in two phases in 1970 and 1971. This connected Fort Worth to the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, but only through the southern route. The northern route to Grapevine was not built until later, opening in 1988 between SH 183 in Bedford and SH 114 in Grapevine. The old route of SH 121 was subsequently renumbered as SH 26.
Unlike Dallas, Fort Worth does not have a ring road around downtown. It was originally planned. Planning for the ring road began in 1956 as part of the “Gruen Plan,” a massive reconstruction of downtown Fort Worth by architect Victor Gruen (1903-1980). The plan included a small ring road around the center giving access to parking garages. The center of Fort Worth would then become one large pedestrian zone where almost the entire center would be rebuilt. In the plan, SH 121 would run along the north and west sides of Downtown Fort Worth, crossing Belknap Street and Henderson Street. At the time, there were also plans for a ring road on the east side, still west of I-35W. This plan was abandoned as early as 1958. The plans were changed in 1964, 1967 and 1985, whereby the planned Downtown Loop would move further and further from the actual center. The plan was abandoned by the City of Fort Worth in 1998 and disappeared from the regional transportation plans in 2000.
Dallas (Sam Rayburn Tollway)
North of Dallas, SH 121 isn’t as old as other highways because this area didn’t develop until after the 1980s. In the mid-1980s, the northern suburbs reached SH 121 and in 1985 it was proposed to upgrade SH 121 between DFW Airport and US 75 to a freeway. In the 1990s the plan became more concrete, but financing was a problem. The construction of the highway became controversial, not among local residents, but between various branches of government. TxDOTwanted to grant a foreign concession, in order to make as much profit as possible in the short term. However, the region wanted to maintain control over the toll road and the amount of the toll. In the end, the region won. The toll road was opened primarily between 2006 and 2009, with the highway around Lewisville being constructed on a deviated route, creating two SH 121 routes in this area.
A short stretch of SH 121 between DFW Airport and I-635 is older, opening in 1981, along with an extension of I-635 westward. Two other short stretches of highway also opened in the 1990s, and are currently toll-free, so SH 121 is not a through toll road from DFW Airport to US 75 in McKinney. In November 2011, the large stack interchange with the Dallas North Tollway opened to traffic.
The NTTA has widened the Sam Rayburn Tollway to 2×4 lanes for 42 kilometers between the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and US 75 in McKinney. The widening started on January 2, 2019 and was completed on December 3, 2021.
The ‘DFW Connector’ in Grapevine.
The DFW Connector was a project to widen SH 114/121 on the north side of DFW International Airport. The highway has been widened from 2×4 lanes to a maximum of 18 lanes, including 2×3 express lanes. The general purpose lanes were ready in August 2013, and the toll lanes in the middle of the highway opened to traffic on 1 April 2014.
In January 2016, $1.3 billion was made available to address the short-term congestion in Texas. Part of this was $61 million for the construction of parallel carriageways along SH 121 between SH 114 and SH 360 at Grapevine. This project was originally planned as part of the DFW Connector, but was not implemented at the time due to lack of funds. The work was then carried out between 2016 and 2018. On May 1, 2018, the official “ribbon-cutting ceremony” followed.
Between 2018 and 2021, SH 121 and its interchanges with I-635, Bass Pro Drive, and FM 2499 were reconstructed for $370 million. The reconstruction of the interchange with I-635 was originally planned as part of the DFW Connector project, but no funding was available for this part at the time. Work started on August 13, 2018 and was completed on August 2, 2021.
Chisholm Trail Parkway
The Chisholm Trail Parkway was constructed from Fort Worth to Cleburne between 2011 and 2014. This is a 44 kilometer long toll road, which was opened to traffic on 11 May 2014. It was planned to number this toll road as SH 121, but in the end this section was left unnumbered.
North Tarrant Express
Between late 2010 and October 2014, 2×2 express lanes were added to I-820 and SH 121 in northeast Fort Worth, between I-35W and SH 183 at Euless. The corridor now has 4+2+2+4 lanes and frontage roads, with the inner lanes being express lanes for which tolls have to be paid. The project was the second major express lane project in the Dallas-Fort Worth area to open. In construction, I-820 and SH 121 were completely reconstructed, with many new flyovers at huge interchanges with other highways. The project is called the North Tarrant Express. The toll lanes opened on October 4, 2014. After opening, traffic jams decreased by 80 percent while traffic increased by 23 percent.
|I-35W||Riverside Drive||2.0 km||00-00-1964|
|I-280 (south)||I-820 (north)||2.9 km||19-07-1965|
|Carson Street||I-820 (south)||4.5 km||00-00-1966|
|Riverside Drive||Beach Street||1.5 km||00-00-1968|
|Beach Street||Carson Street||3.5 km||29-10-1969|
|I-820 (north)||Bedford Road||5.5 km||00-00-1970|
|Bedford Road||SH 183||2.6 km||00-00-1971|
|SH 183||SH 114||10.7 km||00-00-1988|
|SH 114||I-635||2.1 km||00-00-1981|
|I-635||Grapevine Mills Parkway||1.6 km||00-01-1996|
|I-35E||Hebron Parkway||3.5 km||00-00-1999|
|Hebron Parkway||old SH 121 east end||3.5 km||00-07-2006|
|old SH 121 west end||I-35E||5.0 km||29-08-2006|
|old SH 121 east end||Hillcrest Road||13.8 km||31-08-2008|
|Grapevine Mills Parkway||old SH 121 west end||4.2 km||00-00-2009|
|Hillcrest Road||US 75||14.6 km||29-09-2009|
There are plans to widen the section of SH 121 in Euless to 2×4 lanes, with the left hard shoulder becoming a dynamic rush- hour lane, on a 3 mile stretch from SH 183 to Glade Road.
SH 121 is a toll road between Coppell and McKinney, this section is called the Sam Rayburn Tollway. The toll road is operated by the North Texas Tollway Authority (NTTA) and is fully electronic. The toll rates for license plate toll users ( ZipCash ) are 50% higher than users with a TollTag.
There are also toll lanes along the north side of DFW Airport, the so-called ‘DFW Connector’, and toll lanes between Euless and Fort Worth, the so-called ‘North Tarrant Express’. The toll lanes are also called ‘texpress lanes’.
The data below concerns intensities after the relevant exit.
|–||Plano Dallas North Tollway||50,000||102,000||100,000|
This only concerns the highway section in Dallas-Fort Worth.
|I-820||I-820||2×4||double numbering with I-820|
|SH 183||SH 360||2×2||Euless|
|SH 360||SH 114||2×3|
|I-635||Old SH 121||2×2|
|Old SH 121||I-35E||2×3|