NEWS & EVENTS

Community Involvement

 

In addition to involving the community in the North Tarrant Express project, NTE Mobility Partners is committed to giving back to the communities of Euless, Hurst, Bedford, North Richland Hills, Haltom City and Fort Worth, as well as Tarrant County. The partner organizations in NTE Mobility Partners have a long history of supporting local communities through volunteerism and other contributions.

 

North Tarrant Express Marks Grand Opening

Nearly 200 elected officials, dignitaries, elected officials, community leaders, staff from the development and contractor teams, and TxDOT staff were on hand to officially open the North Tarrant Express on Saturday, October 4.

A six-city progressive ribbon-cutting with elected officials in convertibles and vintage cars rolled down the entire 13-mile corridor in the TEXpress managed lanes. The motorcade was followed by a grand opening celebration featuring remarks from Texas Transportation Commissioner Victor Vandergriff, Tarrant County Judge Whitley, Meridiam North American Chairwoman Jane Garvey, and Rafael del Pino, chairmain of Grupo Ferrovial.

The final ribbon was cut atop the new Riverside bridge in Fort Worth by Fort Worth City Councilmen Danny Scarth and Sal Espino, Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley and Tarrant County Commissioner Gary Fickes.

All lanes east and westbound opened officially at 12 noon that, with cars moving into the TEXpress lanes as soon as the traffic barriers were removed.

 

NTE Project Team Continues Investment in Local Schools

As the North Tarrant Express project wraps up along I-820 and SH 121/183 (Airport Freeway), the project team is turning its attention to Fort Worth - and investing in the community - as construction begins along I-35W.

In late September, the NTE team attended the kick-off of a new Advanced Placement (AP) Math and Science program administered through the National Math + Science Initiative in three Fort Worth high schools. The goal is to increase students' access to AP classes and foster improved test scores, which are correlated with success in college.

NTE's grant of $300,000 over three years, together with other corporate sponsors, will fund the new program in Arlington Heights, Amon Carter Riverside and Southwest High Schools. A pep rally was held at Arlington Heights High School to officially launch the program.

"We have made a long-term commitment to supporting the communities in which we are operating," said Robert Hinkle, director of corporate affairs for NTE Mobility Partners. "This program has proven successful around the country, and we think it is a good investment for our company, which is looking to educate and groom the next generation of engineers and leaders for future projects like ours."

NTE previously funded a similar program at Haltom High School in the Birdville ISD. The five-year grant has helped boost passing scores for high school students and provided the opportunity for one-on-one mentoring and internship opportunities with project team members.

 

NTE Project Team Recognized for Community Relations Program, Environmental Stewardship

The North Tarrant Express (NTE) project team recently received national recognition for its efforts in community relations and environmental stewardship related to its $2.5 billion highway reconstruction project in Northeast Tarrant County. Crossing six municipalities and impacting more than one million people, this project will dramatically enhance mobility in the region upon its completion later this year.

At a luncheon at the Mayflower Renaissance Hotel in Washington, D.C. on June 10, the project partners, including developers Cintra U.S. and NTE Mobility Partners and contractor Bluebonnet Contractors, a joint venture of Ferrovial Agroman U.S. Corp. and Webber Construction, were presented with the 2014 PRIDE Award and 2014 GLOBE Award by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association's (ARTBA) Transportation Development Foundation.

To read more, please click here.

Pictured in photo (from left to right): Tony Hartzel, Public Information Officer, TxDOT; Robert Hinkle, Director of Corporate Affairs, NTE Mobility Partners/Cintra; Jodi Hodges, Public Information Officer, TxDOT; Brian Barth, Fort Worth District Engineer, TxDOT; Heather DeLapp, Regional Public Relations Manager, Ferrovial Agroman; General Joe Weber, Executive Director, TxDOT

 

North Tarrant Express and LBJ Express Host Congressional Members for Tour of Projects

Executives with the North Tarrant Express (NTE) and LBJ Express projects worked alongside Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) leaders to host a Congressional Delegation (CODEL) for a two-day visit in North Texas.

The goal was to help them develop a first-hand understanding of how Public-Private Partnerships (P3s) continue to advance much-needed infrastructure projects. Members of the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, led by Thomas E. "Tom" Petri (R-WI), chairman of the Subcommittee for Highways and Transit, toured sections of both roadway projects, which together represent nearly $6 billion in new infrastructure.

The Subcommittee on Highways and Transit is responsible for the development of national surface transportation policy, construction and improvement of highway and transit facilities, implementation of safety and research programs, and regulation of commercial motor vehicle operations. Within this scope of responsibilities, the Subcommittee has jurisdiction over many U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) programs, including the LBJ Express and North Tarrant Express projects.

"It is essential that we help educate federal leaders about the long-term advantages of the P3 approach to solving some of the nation's infrastructure challenges, so that they can serve as advocates for other P3 projects in the future," said Belen Marcos, CEO of NTE Mobility Partners.

Representing the most comprehensive projects of their type in the United States, the $2.5 billion North Tarrant Express and the $3.2 billion LBJ Express feature dynamic improvements to more than 26 miles of congested, outdated interstate and state highway in Tarrant and Dallas County.

Both projects will dramatically improve the capacity of the current roadways, which are among the most congested in the nation. The projects are also the first in Texas to feature TEXpress managed lanes, which utilize dynamic tolling to regulate traffic flow and ensure safe and reliable commutes through these major corridors.

A very important aspect of the two projects, that was of great interest to the CODEL, was the total financing packages. Each project included a state subsidy that was leveraged approximately 4 times with Public Activity Bonds (PABs), a Transportation Infrastructure loan (TIFIA), and private sector equity, all of which is repaid by the developer. Both projects are being built within a Design-Build business model which delivers the project in about a third of the time as traditional heavy highway construction.

The 30-member delegation included congressional members and staff from the U.S. House of Representatives as well as TxDOT leaders and members of both project teams for presentations, site visits and construction highlight videos.

 

TEXpress Lanes Coming Soon

NTE, in collaboration with the LBJ Express, the DFW Connector, TxDOT and NCTCOG, hosted a TEXpress managed lanes briefing for media and elected officials in early November.

Held in a conference room overlooking the LBJ Express managed lanes - 3.2 miles of which open December 14 - a series of presentations and videos provided detailed information about how the lanes will operate. Additionally, presenters discussed the benefits the managed lane network will bring to drivers and the region, as well as and the public-private partnerships that made these projects possible.

"Managed lanes are a unique opportunity to address congestion while giving motorists a choice and providing for more reliable commutes," said Texas Transportation Commissioner Jeff Austin. He added: "The Metroplex has really pulled together to look at leveraging the dollars and using all of the tools and local contributions and participation to make things happen."

Finding new ways to enhance mobility in a region that is one of the fastest-growing in the country is essential, and other regions are watching the progress of this new model. "This is a new way of managing traffic," said Robert Hinkle, corporate affairs director for the NTE. "There are a lot of departments of transportation all across the country, as well as investors, interested in how this public-private partnership and the managed lane network will work."

For more information on TEXpress lanes, please click here.

 

NTE Project Team Celebrates Success with AP Math & Science Program

The third year of the NTE project team's support of Haltom High School's Advanced Placement (AP) math and science program kicked off with great fanfare on September 12.

The Haltom High Buffaloes turned out in mass for a huge pep rally to celebrate students' AP exam scores from last spring and kick off the AP program for the 2013-2014 school year. Administered by the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI), the program is focused on increasing student enrollment and success in AP math, science and English courses, which is correlated with success in college.

In the second year of the program (2012-2013), Haltom High's AP program - which was funded through a five-year, $476,750 grant from NTE Mobility Partners and Bluebonnet Contractors in May 2011 - resulted in triple-digit increases in qualifying scores in subjects such as AP Calculus, AP Physics and AP Biology; a qualifying score in each subject can translate into up to eight college credits, significantly reducing costs for students going to college.

The high school's color guard, drill team, cheerleaders, and band all participated in the festivities, recognizing the success of the school's AP students, who received $11,300 in scholarships as a result of their 2012 exam scores.

"It's inspiring to see these young people working so hard for their future," said Robert Hinkle, director of corporate affairs for NTE Mobility Partners. "We're proud to bring this nationally recognized, effective program to students and teachers in our region and provide them with more options and pathways to success."

In addition to the pep rally, school administrators held a training session for NTE project team members who will serve as mentors for AP students throughout the school year.

 

NTE Hosts Schoolchildren for Lessons on Safety, Road Construction

The North Tarrant Express (NTE) project team and Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) hosted 125 second-graders from Binion Elementary School in Fort Worth on April 25, the day of the public open house.

The children rotated through a series of stations that showed video animation of the NTE project, "before and after" photo boards, and 4-D modeling of bridge construction; demonstrated work zone safety tools and discussed safe driving habits, including not texting and driving; and invited kids to show off their coloring skills using work zone safety art.

 

NTE Progress, Plans Showcased at Open House

More than 400 community members turned out to the North Tarrant Express public open house on April 25. The event highlighted the significant progress and milestones being achieve along Loop 820 and Airport Freeway construction (segments 1 and 2 of the North Tarrant Express) and also included schematics and information on the $1.6 billion I-35W reconstruction project, which is now underway north of Loop 820.

"Every week, we are seeing significant progress along the first two segments of the North Tarrant Express," said Robert Hinkle, director of corporate affairs for NTE Mobility Partners, the project developer. "We heard loud and clear at the open house that people are impressed with the progress and eager for the project to be completed, because it will drastically increase the road capacity along this highly congested corridor."

Some of the recent milestones include the completion of the Hurstview bridge, final demolition and reconstruction of the Denton Highway 377 bridge, and the opening of new westbound main lanes along Airport Freeway. More milestones are imminent, with the opening of the on-ramp to eastbound Airport Freeway from Precinct Line Drive and the opening of the exit to Murphy Drive from southbound SH 121, both of which will take place in the next few weeks.

In the last year, the project logged more than 3,000 lane closures and completed the demolition and partial reconstruction of 10 bridges and overpasses. Fully 100 percent of the corridor is under construction now, and approximately $800 million has been spent to date.

The open house also highlighted plans for the reconstruction of 10 miles of I-35W from downtown Fort Worth north to the US 81/287 juncture. Utility relocations and preliminary ground excavation is underway in preparation for full construction. Lane closures will begin along I-35W next week, starting Sunday, April 28, when traffic will be reduced to one lane in either direction during the overnight hours through Friday, May 3.

"This project has been on the drawing board for decades, and to see construction activity finally happening has reassured residents and businesses that relief is on the way," said Hinkle.

The I-35W segment north of the I-820 interchange is expected to be under construction for four years; the segment south of the interchange is expected to begin construction later this year with a 2018 completion date.

"The commitment of our many partners, including the Texas Department of Transportation and the City of Fort Worth, has kept the momentum going and kept this project in front of state leaders, ensuring they remained focused on improving mobility along this essential north-south corridor," added Hinkle. "This project will transform this region, and the state."

 

NTE Promotes Work Zone Safety with Project Activity at its Height

In recognition of National Work Zone Awareness Week, April 15 -19, NTE officials want to remind drivers to pay attention and observe the reduced speed limits while driving through the NTE corridor or any other active road construction zone.

"People need to eliminate distractions and stay alert while driving through work zones, especially when those construction areas change regularly," said Robert Hinkle, director of corporate affairs for NTE Mobility Partners, the developer of the project. "Excessive speed and distractions of all kinds such as cellphones are the primary causes of crashes in work zones. Put it down, pay attention and save a life."

Each year in Texas, there are approximately 15,000 crashes and more than 100 people killed in highway construction and maintenance zones. In 2012, there were 3,962 distracted driver crashes in Texas work zones, involving 8,407 vehicles. Those distracted driver crashes resulted in 46 fatalities.

"We just passed the halfway point in construction, so we are at the height of activity in the corridor," said Lara Kohl, public relations manager for Bluebonnet Contractors, which is managing the project construction. "We have lanes opening and closing, and traffic shifts occurring on a near-daily basis, so drivers need to exercise extreme caution while they're driving through these areas. No meeting, text or phone call is so important to risk someone's life."

The 13.5-mile corridor reconstruction project began in late 2010 and is on track for completion in 2015. To learn more about the project please go to http://www.northtarrantexpress.com. For more details on National Work Zone Awareness Week, go to http://www.ops.fhwa.dot.gov/wz/outreach/wz_awareness.htm.

 

NTE Celebrates Year Two of STEM Partnership with Haltom High, APS/NMSI

The second year of the NTE project team's support of Haltom High School's Advanced Placement (AP) math and science program kicked off with great fanfare on September 6.

An early-morning science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) roundtable discussion brought together more than 90 Haltom High AP students and NTE project engineers for the second time to talk about career choices, educational tracks and how STEM and advanced road design and construction fit together in the real world.

Following the breakfast roundtables, the Haltom High Buffaloes turned out in mass for a huge pep rally to celebrate students' AP exam scores from last spring and kick off the AP program for the 2012-2013 school year. Administered by the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI) and AP Strategies (APS), the program is focused on increasing student enrollment and success in AP math, science and English courses, which is correlated with success in college.

In the first year of the program (2011-2012), Haltom High's AP program - which was funded through a five-year, $476,750 grant from NTE Mobility Partners and Bluebonnet Contractors in May 2011 - resulted in a 15 percent increase in enrollment in AP courses. The increase in passing scores by students in the new program was 21 percent, nearly three times the national average. The high school's color guard, drill team, cheerleaders, choir and band all participated in the festivities, recognizing the success of the school's AP students, who received more than $11,000 in scholarships as a result of their 2011 exam scores.

"This is where the rubber meets the road," said Robert Hinkle, director of corporate affairs for NTE Mobility Partners. "We are helping these kids set a positive course for their future, while showing them firsthand how incredibly valuable math and science education can be."

 

NTE Project Team Promotes Work Zone Safety

On Tuesday, April 24, the North Tarrant Express (NTE) project team, together with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and the LBJ Express project team, hosted a press conference to discuss work zone safety.

April 23-27 is National Work Zone Awareness Week and provided an important opportunity to highlight for the media and the community the critical need for safety when driving through active work zones. "With hundreds of workers on the road, it is imperative for the safety of our project team and corridor drivers that people slow down, stay alert, and put down the phones when they see orange cones," said Robert Hinkle, corporate affairs director for NTE Mobility Partners, the NTE project developer.

TxDOT's Brian Barth urged drivers to "Drive Smart and Arrive Alive!" Barth reported that there have been an average of 3,500 work zone accidents during the last three years; in 2010, there were more than 3,000 accidents and 14 fatalities.

The many factors in the majority of the accidents are alcohol and drug related, excessive speed or distracted driving. Nearly one in four accidents resulted from a driver who was distracted by a mobile device.

"Safety is paramount," said Hinkle. "We urge people to follow the 50 MPH speed limit and be extra aware of lane shifts and traffic signage." The Beat the Traffic feature on the home page of the NTE website provides real-time traffic conditions as well as information on lane closures.

 

NTE-Supported AP Program Progresses at Haltom High

In May of last year, the NTE project team announced a five-year, $476,750 grant to Haltom High School in the Birdville Independent School District. The grant is funding the implementation of a nationally recognized Advanced Placement (AP) math, science and English program - the Advanced Placement Training and Incentive Program (APTIP) - in partnership with the National Math and Science Initiative and AP Strategies. The goal of the program is to help drive student enrollment and achievement in rigorous, college-level courses, which are correlated with success in college.

Progress to date in the program includes:

- APTIP campus administrator team training took place in August 2011
- APTIP "kick off" pep rally took place in September 2011
- AP teacher training sessions initiated in August; 17 teachers have attended so far
- "Catalyst" mentors (experts from around the country in specific subjects) have been assigned
- Materials and equipment have been ordered using $10,000 mini-grants
- Saturday student prep sessions began in December; more than 75 students have participated so far
- AP campus coordinator training took place in early February.

In March, NTE project staff will participate in a serious of roundtables with Haltom High AP math and science students, allowing them to learn more about the professionals' educational background and career experiences and how those have led to their current roles on the NTE project.

 

NTE Project Welcomes Engineering Students

Approximately 15 students from the University of Texas at Arlington's student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ACSE) had the opportunity to visit with the NTE project team in January.

Accompanied by civil engineering professor Dr. Jim Williams, the students were given a tour of the full 13.5-mile corridor, riding along with the project's independent engineers, CH2M Hill, and members of the project safety team. The students and Dr. Williams had high praise for the opportunity: "Most of our coursework is geared towards analysis and design; construction issues such as sequencing, traffic control, and so forth are difficult to cover in a class. So, the best way for students to get an idea of what is happening is through presentations at ASCE meetings and especially through field trips such as this one."

This opportunity is one of many provided to students in the community as part of the NTE project team's commitment to furthering science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education in the region.

 

NTE Supports Community Revitalization Project

Recently, the NTE project team helped support 6 Stones, a nonprofit organization that facilitates much-needed community revitalization projects. As part of its Community Powered Revitalization (CPR) project, 6 Stones helps elderly, handicapped and disabled individuals with home repairs in the cities of Hurst, Euless and Bedford.

In January, NTE provided resources for a 6 Stones project, donating dirt excavated from the project to help an elderly widow in Bedford fill up a concrete pool that was in complete disrepair and coming out of the ground.

For more information on these projects, please visit 6 Stones.org.

 

Haltom High School Kicks Off AP Math and Science Program

On Thursday, September 8, Haltom High School held a school-wide pep rally to launch its new Advanced Placement math and science program, which is being funded by a $476,750 grant from the NTE project team. Project staff, along with representatives from the Birdville ISD school board, TxDOT and AP Strategies (which is administering the program), were on hand for the celebration. The special event included performances by Haltom High band members, cheerleaders, singers and high-steppers, along with remarks by Texas State Representative Kelly Hancock and NTE corporate affairs director Robert Hinkle.

Photo: Haltom High Principal Clarence Simmons gratefully accepts the check from NTE Mobility Partners.

 

NTE Project Team Awards STEM Education Grant to Haltom High

On Monday, May 23, the North Tarrant Express project team awarded a five-year, $476,750 grant to Haltom High School in the Birdville Independent School District. The grant will fund the implementation of a nationally recognized AP math, science and English program - Advanced Placement Training and Incentive Program - in partnership with the National Math and Science Initiative and AP Strategies, to help drive student enrollment and achievement in rigorous, college-level courses. Success in AP courses is directly correlated with both success in college: receiving a passing score on an AP exam makes students up to three times more likely to graduate from college.

Photo: Haltom High Principal Mike Jasso (second from left) and Interim Superintendent Dr. Jay Thompson (center) are presented with the grant by Robert Hinkle (left) and Belen Marcos (second from right) from NTE Mobility Partners and Jose Carlos Esteban (right) of Bluebonnet Contractors.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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