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 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. 

Click here for more information on HOV Discount Qualifications and Activation

GoCarma is an independent platform managed by NCTCOG, separate from NTTA, TxDOT and Drive On TEXpress. The Regional Transportation Council set a policy to move to more advanced technology to verify HOV status and replace manual enforcement. At least one smartphone in each registered vehicle is required through the GoCarma technology selected to meet the RTC's policy. 
 
As GoCarma is a new technology & application, we recommend that you visit the GoCarma Help Center for live chat support, help with technical questions and how to get started with the new GoCarma technology. Additionally, the GoCarma Call Center is available at 469-606-3920, Monday-Friday; 9am – 5pm CT.

Click here for detailed information on HOV Discount Qualifications and Activation 

You will qualify for an HOV toll discount on NTE TEXpress Lanes as long as:

  • You have at least two people in the vehicle, such as a driver and a passenger (motorcycles do not require a passenger).
  • You have a valid TollTag, TxTag or EZ TAG account in good standing (i.e. cannot fall into a negative balance)
  • Your Tag is properly mounted on your vehicle's windshield—including motorcycles—for our scanners to read them.
  • Your trip is during weekday rush-hour periods, Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. 
  • You use the GoCarma app technology
    • The Regional Transportation Council set a policy to move to more advanced technology to verify HOV status and replace manual enforcement. One smartphone in each registered vehicle is required through the GoCarma technology selected to meet the RTC’s policy.
    • The GoCarma app is an independent platform developed by Carma Technologies Corporation through a contract with the North Central Council of Governments (NCTCOG)

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 (motorocycles do not need a passenger) and must meet the requirements for HOV Discount Qualifications and Activation. HOV users must have a windshield transponder (TxTAG, TollTag or EZ TAG) to receive the HOV discount.

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 15 cents to 35 cents per mile during lighter traffic, and 45 cents to 90 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 90 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.

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 opened in July 2017. 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).