TxDOT to open new Walnut Grove overpass

Project to replace hazardous intersection at U.S. 287 near finish line

Bill Spinks
Midlothian Mirror
Work crews set beams on the U.S. Highway 287 bridge over Walnut Grove Road in a photo from last year. The Texas Department of Transportation will open the finished overpass this week.

A long-running project to replace a dangerous at-grade intersection and a traffic-snarling signal on the east side of Midlothian is poised to begin paying off handsomely for motorists this week.

Weather permitting, the Texas Department of Transportation is expected to fully open the new U.S. Highway 287 overpass of Walnut Grove Road. Southbound lanes were scheduled to open on Tuesday, and TxDOT said northbound lanes will open on Friday.

During the course of construction, four new main lanes of U.S. 287 were constructed with a Jersey barrier separating the directions of traffic, and frontage roads were constructed to carry traffic moving on and off Walnut Grove and Plainview Roads and to serve present and future businesses.

The traffic signal at Walnut Grove was the last one remaining on the main lanes of U.S. 287 between its junction with Interstate 45 and Fort Worth, and caused backups on the highway that sometimes stretched several miles in either direction at peak hours. This intersection has also been the site of a large number of major crashes over the years, including some fatalities.

TxDOT has been planning the intersection’s replacement with a grade-separated interchange for years, with a design schematic developed in December 2016.

The Midlothian City Council voted in July 2017 to approve a resolution supporting the interchange, clearing the way for TxDOT to begin land acquisition. Construction began in the summer of 2019, and in March 2020, U.S. 287 main lane traffic was shifted to allow for construction of the new overpass.

Most of the construction took place within existing TxDOT right-of-way, but a small amount of land had to be acquired to accommodate the four corners of the intersection.

The project is a part of TxDOT’s overall long-range plans to upgrade U.S. 287 from State Highway 360 in far northwest Ellis County to Lampasas Street in Ennis, a distance of about 32 miles. Options that are under study include the addition of one-way frontage roads and either the partial or complete reconstruction of the U.S. Highway 67 interchange.