North Tarrant Express FAQs

This 13.3-mile, $2.5 billion project involves the total reconstruction of the I-820 and SH-121/183 (Airport Freeway) corridor in Northeast Tarrant County. Improvements include rebuilt general highway lanes, improvements and expansions to the frontage roads, and the addition of four TEXpress Lanes. In 2014, construction began on I-35W, which is an extension of the NTE project. NTE TEXpress Lanes added to I-35W, from downtown Fort Worth to US 287, will open in two phases beginning in summer 2017. The final phase is slated for a fall 2018 opening. 

The NTE project will provide relief from traffic congestion and bottlenecks along one of the most critical highway corridors in the Dallas-Fort Worth region. These improvements will enhance the safety and reliability of this highway system, while lessening environmental impacts resulting from traffic gridlock.

NTE Mobility Partners designed, built and financed the NTE, working in close collaboration with the Texas Department of Transportation and the local communities. The company is also responsible for operating and maintaining the NTE TEXpress Lanes, general highway lanes and frontage road within the the NTE. In addition, NTE Mobility Partners is currently working on the on the project's expansion on 35W. 

NTE Mobility Partners represents a consortium of companies, including Cintra US, a world leader in private-sector development of transportation infrastructure; Meridiam Infrastructure, a global public-private partnership investor/developer of private facilities; the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System, the first U.S. pension fund in the country to invest in the building and maintenance of a major toll road project like NTE; and W.W. Webber LLC, a leading Texas construction company.

The State of Texas is the project's owner. NTE Mobility Partners has entered into a lease agreement with the state to improve and expand the NTE, as well as operate and maintain it according to rigorous standards set by the state. Once the lease ends, TxDOT will resume the operation and maintenance of the roadway.

Yes. The project team is now focused on the reconstruction of I-35W. Construction began in 2013 on the northern segment (north of I-820) and in late 2014 on the southern segment (south of I-820). The I-35W highway corridor—a major north/south route for commuters and regional, interstate and international trade—will feature fully rebuilt main lanes and frontage roads, along with two new TEXpress Lanes in each direction. Phase I, which runs from I-820 north to US 287 and is being built by the Texas Dept. of Transportation, is scheduled for a summer 2017 opening. Phase 2, which runs south of I-820 to downtown Fort Worth, is slated for a fall 2018 opening. NTE Mobility Partners will manage both segments of the I-35W corridor and its TEXpress Lanes.

TEXpress Lanes are tolled express lanes built within a highway corridor that use dynamic, congestion-management pricing to provide extra capacity, efficiently handle more traffic volume, and maintain a minimum speed of 50 mph.

A toll road, like the Chisolm Trail Parkway (CTP) or the President George Bush Turnpike (PGBT), charges a fixed or scheduled rate for the use of the road. Additionally, toll roads do not generally predict travel times or ensure that traffic will keep moving as do the TEXpress Lanes.

TEXpress Lanes are designated express lanes within highway corridors with prices that fluctuate based on supply and demand to prevent congestion.

Equipment monitoring real-time traffic conditions will adjust the prices periodically throughout the day based upon the average speed and number of drivers who want to use the TEXpress Lanes. Prices may go up or down, depending upon the amount of traffic and the time of day, but customers are notified of the price they will pay prior to entering any segment of the TEXpress Lanes.

Prices will be lower during non-peak driving times. The variable pricing ensures you a predictable, higher-speed commute.

No. You may choose to drive on the reconstructed general highway lanes at no cost or, depending on traffic conditions, your schedule, and your budget, you can choose to take the adjacent tolled TEXpress Lanes.

Currently, TEXpress Lanes are under construction, being planned or open on six major Dallas-Fort Worth corridors in addition to the North Tarrant Express:

  • LBJ Express (I-635 and I-35E/Loop 12) OPEN
  • DFW Connector (SH-114) OPEN
  • I-30 (Tom Landry Freeway) OPEN
  • I-35 OPEN
  • NTE 35W
  • Midtown Express (SH-183, SH-114 and Loop 12/Walton Walker Freeway)

Anyone can use TEXpress Lanes, including local drivers, commuters and out-of-town travelers. Drivers can use any tag from Texas (TxDOT’s TxTag, NTTA’s TollTag, or HCTRA’s EZ TAG) or, alternately, pay by mail for an additional surcharge.

Current prices are clearly displayed on signs in advance of each entrance ramp and toll segment entry point. There are two toll segments on the NTE TEXpress Lanes—each toll segment has a separate price (if you drive both segments for your trip, you will incur two toll charges). You will also see separate prices for pre-registered HOV 2+ users (who are enrolled in the Drive On TEXpress program) and single occupancy vehicles (with a valid TollTag, TxTag or EZ TAG) on all signs. Single occupancy vehicles without a TollTag, TxTag or EZ TAG pay 50% more than the posted prices. Larger vehicles also pay higher tolls. 

The NTE TEXpress Lanes will have a total of four toll segments once the I-35W extension is completed.

NTE TEXpress Lanes on Northeast Loop 820 and Airport Freeway are comprised of two separate toll segments. Toll Segment 1 begins at I-35W and ends at the Northeast Loop / Airport Freeway interchange, near North East Mall. Toll Segment 2 begins at the Northeast Loop / Airport Freeway interchange and ends at Industrial Boulevard. Two NTE TEXpress Lanes toll segments are on the I-35W extension. Toll Segment 3, which will open in 2018, runs from I-30 to Northeast Loop 820. Toll Segment 4, opening in two sections beginning in summer 2017, starts at Northeast Loop 820 and ends just north of US 287.

Once you enter a toll segment, you are charged for that segment. If you decide to continue to the next toll segment, you will see a pricing sign for that second segment—well in advance—to help you determine whether to continue your trip on the TEXpress Lanes or exit them. Once you enter the second tolling segment, you will be charged for that additional segment (charges for both segments will appear on your billing statement). Click here for a map that features all of the toll gantries for the NTE TEXpress Lanes.

The speed limit on the NTE TEXpress Lanes is 75 mph, whereas the speed limit on the adjacent general highway lanes is 65 mph. During peak travel times, congestion-management pricing aims to keep the NTE TEXpress Lanes flowing at a minimum of 50 mph.

Accidents are an unfortunate common occurrence on all highways. The operator of North Tarrant Express and LBJ Express always strives to clear an accident as soon as possible, even beyond the contractual requirements of the Texas Department of Transportation. In those accident situations, when there are unusual delays in the non-tolled lanes, the TEXpress Lanes tolls may proactively increase to ensure a continuous flow of traffic. This is done to avoid sudden surges in traffic that could stop the continuous movement at the exits and block the lanes that users are paying for. However, depending on the circumstances and magnitude of the accident, the management team in the Traffic Control Center will assess each situation on a case-by-case basis to determine the safest way to proceed.

During the first six months following the opening of the North Tarrant Express project in October 2014, prices on the NTE TEXpress Lanes were fixed and did not make use of the real-time price increases and decreases. Rather, our pricing was scheduled higher during peak hours and lower during non-peak hours. This essentially simulated the demand-based tolling policies as we developed final pricing for the real-time, demand-based phase of our operations. After that six-month evaluation period, which occurred on April 2, 2015, new tolling policies were implemented in which the price changes based on a number of factors, including real-time congestion levels in each segment and/or the time of day.

Now that the NTE TEXpress Lanes have entered into the dynamic pricing phase, average toll prices may range from 10 cents to 25 cents per mile during lighter traffic, and 45 cents to 75 cents during rush hour.  In the event that the average speed on the NTE TEXpress Lanes drops below 50 mph and starts to deteriorate, the toll rate will rise in order to maintain an average 50 mph trip in each segment of the corridor (the NTE TEXpress Lanes are comprised of two toll segments).

Applicable prices will depend on:

Traffic conditions as they change during the day (for instance, there will be higher toll rates during periods of higher congestion to maintain the 50 mph traffic speed)

  • Shape and size of vehicle
  • Number of passengers in the vehicle. Under the current policy, a minimum of two passengers (including the driver) are considered HOV and pay half-price during peak travel periods if they enroll and activate their HOV status (discount) via the Drive On TEXpress app or web app. Enforcement officers will monitor HOV usage. HOV users must have a windshield transponder (TxTAG, TollTag or EZ TAG) to receive the HOV discount.

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) receives its funding from taxpayers, through taxes on gasoline and bond money that leverage those gas tax dollars. Over the past few years, gas tax revenue has decreased due to improved fuel efficiency in automobiles and motorists driving less frequently for a variety of reasons. The gas tax rate per gallon has not increased for nearly 20 years and does not fluctuate with the unpredictable price of gas.

The North Central Texas Council of Governments' Regional Transportation Council (RTC) determines the prioritization and funding of transportation projects in North Texas. In our growing North Texas region, transportation needs are significantly greater than the available gas-tax dollars. Simply put, the sole source of revenue to pay for transportation projects in Texas has decreased, while both the population and need for improved roadways have increased.

In response, RTC developed the region's managed toll lane policy. The region expects NTEMP to maintain a reliable level of service for motorists traveling at 50 mph. Because having fewer cars on the roadway improves mobility throughout the project corridor, the region also has developed a discount for mass transit and peak period carpoolers as an incentive.

Even with the addition of the new TEXpress Lanes, drivers will continue to have the choice to drive at no cost on the completely rebuilt main lanes and continuous frontage roads.

No. Tolling policies are set by the Regional Transportation Council (RTC), a standing committee of the North Central Texas Council of Governments. The managed lanes policy for the TEXpress Lanes currently in use by the RTC can be viewed here: North Texas Council Managed Lanes Policy.

Toll rates vary and are unique to the region where the roadway exists, but they are always capped by state and federal authorities. A clearly defined tolling regulation and toll setting is imperative, given the importance of revenue and traffic forecasting to the development of toll projects. (Texas Association of Business; "P3 Roadways; Public-Private Partnerships that Work")

NTE Mobility Partners (NTEMP) is required to increase the price of the tolls every 5 minutes when traffic reaches a maximum car-per-lane threshold or the speed drops below 50 miles per hour for a 15-minute period. NTEMP is charged a penalty under its Comprehensive Development Agreement with the Texas Department of Transportation for not meeting that performance requirement. Those penalties increase as the speed continues to drop.

As a private company, NTEMP has an interest in: 1) providing TEXpress Lanes that drivers want to use, and 2) providing that convenience at a price that drivers are willing to pay to avoid heavy traffic congestion.

 

The Base Toll Rate Cap is 86 cents a mile for every toll segment in each direction (the NTE TEXpress Lanes have two toll segments). This is adjusted each year by a percentage equal to the previous year's Consumer Price Index.

Congestion-management pricing for the NTE TEXpress Lanes was implemented on April 2, 2015, and tolls are now raised or lowered based on traffic demand and to keep traffic moving in accordance with a pre-defined mechanism approved by the Regional Transportation Council (RTC) and TxDOT.

The Drive On TEXpress platform was created to provide easy-to-access planning tools and special discounts to TEXpress Lanes drivers in North Texas:

  • HOV, motorcycles and carpool drivers who use any TEXpress Lanes throughout North Texas are eligible for a 50% discount during weekday rush hours.

              -  This discount can only be obtained by using the Drive On TEXpress app or online version in conjunction with a valid TollTag, TxTag or EZ TAG.
              -  Drivers must activate their HOV status at least 15 minutes prior to entering the TEXpress Lanes.

  • Any North Texas driver who downloads the Drive On TEXpress app or goes to DriveOnTEXpress.com can register to receive a variety of promotional discounts for the NTE and LBJ TEXpress Lanes: 

              - Offers are exclusive to Drive On TEXpress users

Anyone can access the platform through the DriveOnTEXpress.com website.

Drive On TEXpress is only applicable to the TEXpress Lanes in North Texas, including any partial segments open to traffic:

  • LBJ TEXpress Lanes on I-635 / OPEN
  • DFW Connector TEXpress Lanes on SH-114 / OPEN
  • NTE TEXpress Lanes on NE Loop 820 and Airport Freeway (SH-121/183) / OPEN
  • I-30 TEXpress Lanes / Phase 1 & 2 of 3 OPEN
  • 635 East TEXpress Lanes / OPEN
  • I-35E TEXpress Lanes / OPEN
  • NTE TEXpress Lanes on 35W
  • Midtown Express TEXpress Lanes on SH-114, SH-183 & LP 12

 

Drive On TEXpress provides HOV discounts for all of the TEXpress Lanes. To qualify for HOV discounts, drivers must activate or preschedule their HOV status through Drive On TEXpress at least 15 minutes prior to entering the TEXpress Lanes.

In addition, the LBJ TEXpress Lanes and NTE TEXpress Lanes offer a variety of promotional discounts to Drive On TEXpress users.

TEXpress Lanes HOV discounts are:

  • 50% via Drive On TEXpress
  • Available Monday through Friday
    • A.M. Period: 6:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.
    • P.M. Period: 3:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
  • Applicable to TEXpress Lanes corridors such as the LBJ, NTE, DFW Connector and I-30 TEXpress Lanes
  • 635 East Express/HOV Lanes
    •  Zero tolls via Drive On TEXpress
    • Available 24 hours day, 7 days a week
      • A.M. Period: 12:00 a.m. (midnight) to 11:59 a.m.
      • P.M. Period: 12:00 p.m. (noon) to 11:59 p.m.
    • Exclusive to I-635 East (from US 75 to I-30)
  • Drivers must have at least one additional passenger in their vehicle or drive a motorcycle
  • Driver must activate or preschedule their HOV status for the desired HOV period(s) through Drive On TEXpress at least 15 minutes prior to entering the TEXpress Lanes

Yes. On occasion, the LBJ and NTE TEXpress Lanes will offer special promotional discounts to Drive On TEXpress drivers who use those particular TEXpress Lanes. To receive notifications regarding these discounts, make sure that the ‘Discounts & News’ button located in ‘Settings’ is switched to the ‘on’ position.

Yes. Motorcyclists can receive the HOV 2+ 50% discount if they have a valid and properly-mounted TollTag, TxTag or EZ TAG on their windshield (this is a requirement), register for a Drive On TEXpress account (download the app) and enroll in the program, and then activate their HOV status at least 15 minutes prior to entering the TEXpress Lanes.

Yes. If you are a last-minute HOV, carpool or motorcycle driver, you can manually activate your HOV status at least 15 minutes before entering the TEXpress Lanes by using the Drive On TEXpress mobile app or website. Just tap the ‘Activate My HOV Status Now’ arrow to manually activate your HOV discount.

If you are a regular carpool/motorcycle driver, you can preschedule your HOV activation up to 7 days in advance for one or multiple HOV periods with the HOV Schedule function. Drive On TEXpress is designed to be flexible so you can use it to preschedule all your discounts for the week at one time or activate your discounts with just 15 minutes’ notice.

No. You can be a single occupant to qualify for any special promotional discounts which may pop up from time to time on your Drive On TEXpress screen. Only HOV drivers must have at least one passenger in their vehicle to qualify for HOV discounts, available during all rush hours.

Every now and then, you may be prompted to claim or decline a specific discount. To claim the discount, you will be asked to enable the discount on the screen. If you receive multiple discount alerts, you may select the one that best suits your preference. However, if you were to select more than one discount for a single transaction, the Drive On TEXpress system will calculate which one is the most economically favorable for you.

Yes. Drive On TEXpress allows drivers with predictable travel schedules to preschedule their HOV status up to 7 days in advance by using the HOV Schedule function, which is located on the home screen.

Once you press the ‘Activate My HOV Status Now’ arrow, it will take approximately 15 minutes for your discount to be activated.

The 15-minute wait period is a way to discourage drivers from using their mobile devices to activate their HOV status while driving. Drivers are encouraged to plan ahead for their trips, and if they believe they may take the TEXpress Lanes, they should consider activating their HOV discount prior to getting behind the wheel.  If a vehicle is registered as an HOV but elects to stay in the general highway lanes or take a different route altogether, they simply will not be charged a toll.

If you did not preschedule your HOV trip and decide to travel HOV, you can still take advantage of the discount with 15 minutes’ notice.

You can use the manual Activate My HOV Status Now button, which is located at the top of the HOV Schedule screen and the home screen. However, the discount must be activated at least 15 minutes before entering the TEXpress Lanes otherwise you will not receive it.

Yes, you can cancel your prescheduled HOV status. If you need to cancel any of your HOV trips, just go to the HOV Schedule and tap the boxes, which will turn from blue (HOV on) to white (empty).

If the HOV period has already started, you will see in the Activate My HOV Status bar that you are already activated for that period. Simply tap the Cancel HOV button, then select ‘Confirm’ (yes) in the pop-up screen. A green notification timer will start the countdown to cancellation.

You must wait for approximately 10 minutes until the timer is complete, signaling that the HOV period is canceled. If you do not wait for the cancellation and use the TEXpress Lanes, you could be fined or receive a ticket from law enforcement. 

Local law enforcement personnel monitor the TEXpress Lanes for compliance with HOV 2+ regulations. Once you activate your HOV status, you are essentially using the TEXpress Lanes as an HOV driver. Therefore, you are responsible for the number of occupants in your vehicle. As is the case when you enter any other HOV lane facilities in the region, you are subject to fines if you operate your vehicle with fewer than the required number of passengers.

No. You are only charged for tolls once your vehicle enters the TEXpress Lanes. The activated HOV discount will simply expire once the HOV period has ended.

 

If you cancel your HOV status by using the ‘Cancel HOV’ button on the home screen, your discount will deactivate approximately 10 minutes later.

The 10-minute delay is a way to discourage drivers from using their mobile devices to cancel their HOV status while driving. Drivers are encouraged to plan ahead for their trips and to decide whether to activate their HOV status or not depending on their potential to use the TEXpress Lanes as part of a carpool or vanpool.

Circumstances that would prevent you from receiving an HOV discount include:

  • You inadvertently activated the discount for another car on your account, versus the one you are driving on the TEXpress Lanes
  • You have a tag, but it is improperly mounted on your vehicle
  • You did not activate your HOV status for the proper day/time via Drive On TEXpress at least 15 minutes prior to entering the TEXpress Lanes

The North Texas Tollway Authority (NTTA) can help you file a dispute for an adjustment to your account and answer any questions about your bill/charges. Call NTTA’s Customer Service at 972-818-NTTA (6882) or 817-731-NTTA (6882), or visit them in person at one of their customer service locations. You can also email them at customerservice@NTTA.org.

Yes. You will need to contact your tolling agency and update your TollTag, TxTag or EZ TAG account first. Then change the vehicle information on your Drive On TEXpress account by entering the temporary or new license plate number.

Drive On TEXpress is an independent platform, separate from NTTA, TxDOT and HCTRA, therefore the information you provide must match what your tolling agency has on file.

Once you receive your permanent license plates, first update your TollTag, TxTag or EZ TAG account. Then wait up to 48 hours to update your Drive On TEXpress account with the permanent information. 

For security reasons, you can only log into your Drive On TEXpress account on one device at a time.

If you are logged into your account and attempt to use a second device, the app will reset on the first device you were signed into, and may eliminate changes you may have made. To switch devices, just sign out of the first device and then sign in on the device you want to use.

You can view all of your TEXpress Lanes discount activities, for both HOV and promotional discounts, by clicking on the ‘History’ button. You will see when you activated and/or canceled the HOV discount for each period and vehicle on your Drive On TEXpress account.

Visit your TollTag, TxTag and EZ TAG accounts to view your actual TEXpress Lanes transactions.

When you first register, you are required to provide your:

  • Sign-in ID (email address OR mobile phone number)
  • Password and answer to a selected security question
  • Zip code
  • Vehicle license plate number and state

             Example: ABC1234 (do not enter any spaces between the characters)

  • Your valid tag number and type of tag (TollTag, TxTag or EZ TAG) corresponding to the license plate provided

            Example: DNT.12345678 (enter the tag issuer ID followed by a dot, and then the tag number)

All other information is optional and can be added at any time.

As part of Drive On TEXpress, you only have to provide a few contact details (email or cell phone and your zip code) to the Drive On TEXpress Lanes operators (LBJ Infrastructure Group and/or NTE Mobility Partners) in order to process tolls and receive your discounts and alerts. Other personal details are not mandatory. You will also be asked to provide your valid TollTag, TxTag or EZ TAG and license plate numbers so that the tolling system can identify your vehicle (but not you personally) and check to see if you have activated any discounts. This information will be kept confidential. It will not be disclosed to any third parties without your consent.

You don’t have to provide any financial information (i.e. bank account or credit card) to use Drive On TEXpress. Your toll service provider (NTTA, HCTRA or TXDOT) will retain any personal information you may have provided to them for applying the toll usage to your account. All TEXpress Lanes toll charges, including applicable discounts, will be billed through your existing toll service provider.

You should send an email to the Drive On TEXpress Technical Support coordinator at support@DriveOnTEXpress.com. If possible, please be sure to include your license plate, tag number and a contact phone number, along with a brief description of the technical issue you are experiencing. Assistance is provided:

  • Monday through Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
  • Closed weekends and major holidays

 

If you plan to qualify for HOV or special promotional discounts while your vehicle has temporary (paper) plates, please follow the steps:

  1. Update your TollTag, TxTag or EZ TAG online account or contact the appropriate tolling agency’s Customer Service Center with that information.
  2. Change the vehicle information on your Drive On TEXpress account by entering the temporary license plate or tag number.
  3. Once permanent license plates are received, you must first update your TollTag, TxTag or EZ TAG account. Then wait up to 48 hours to update your Drive On TEXpress account with the permanent information.

 Drive On TEXpress is an independent platform, separate from NTTA, TxDOT and HCTRA.  The information you provide must match what your tolling agency has on file.

We encourage you to visit the "About the NTE" section of our www.northtarrantexpress.com project website and click on "Job Opportunities," where we post and update job listings and provide specific information on how to apply for a position.

We encourage all interested parties to register their companies and their credentials for consideration in our Registered Vendor Database by visiting the "About the NTE" section of our www.northtarrantexpress.com project website and clicking on "Bid Opportunities." We regularly post and update bid opportunities.

The North Tarrant Express has a DBE participation goal based on its Comprehensive Development Agreement with TxDOT. For more information on DBE requirements, please visit the "About the NTE" section of our www.northtarrantexpress.comproject website and click on "Bid Opportunities." We encourage DBE firms to register on our Registered Vendor Database.

Construction on the North Tarrant Express began in October 2010. The project opened on Oct. 4, 2014, approximately nine months ahead of schedule. The extension of NTE includes I-35W, from downtown Fort Worth to US 287, which will open in two phases. Phase 1, which begins at the I-35W / 820 interchange and extends to US 287 is slated for a July 2017 opening. Phase 2, which runs from downtown Fort Worth to the I-35W / 820 interchange is expected to open in 2018

Our plan is to prioritize each individual phase of the I-35W extension to open as soon as possible, so that we can deliver a new transportation network, relieving existing congestion and improving safety and air quality.

To guarantee the safety of the public, we have carefully and thoughtfully developed a construction staging and traffic management design to provide for the safe and steady flow of traffic through the project area.

Our traffic control plans also incorporate traffic control devices to route traffic safely and at a controlled speed around construction areas. The project is in close coordination with traffic planners for all the cities in the area to ensure nearby traffic signals are timed to assist motorists in the construction area. This will keep drivers safe and reduce the impact of traffic on residents and businesses located near the project area.

There are many different ways to get information about the project:

  • Visit the project website www.northtarrantexpress.com regularly for construction updates
  • Subscribe for regular project updates and traffic alerts (visit the www.northtarrantexpress.com project website and click on “Get E-alerts”)
  • Call our toll-free information hotline at 1-888-NTE-2015 (1-888-683-2015)
  • Schedule a speaker for your business group, civic group or neighborhood association

We invite your feedback on this important project. Please visit our Inquiries and Feedback page to send us any questions or comments. You can also submit questions or comments at any time during the project, either in person, by phone or mail to:

NTE Mobility Partners
8713 Airport Freeway, Suite 100
North Richland Hills, Texas 76180
1-888-NTE-2015

The NTE Mobility Partners consortium has a long-term commitment to the state of Texas and is already employing more than 2,000 Texans. There are more than 160 North Texas and statewide companies and their employees working on the project, including 150 Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs).