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Old Jul 14, 12, 9:28 pm   #1
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
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Road construction and toll roads around DFW

I'll be in the Fort Worth / Dallas / Grapevine area later this month. In some hotel and restaurant reviews that I have read, posters are complaining vociferously about traffic deadlock caused by construction, and not realizing that they should have had a transponder for toll roads until the $25 penalties arrived from the rental car company.

Is this the case? Are there toll roads in the area were $$$ don't work, just transponders, and am I going to spend crazy amounts of time in traffic?

Are there any roads / areas where the traffic congestion will be so bad I should avoid them?

Thank you.
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Old Jul 14, 12, 9:46 pm   #2
 
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Avoid I-635 at all costs. It is also crazy trying to get into and out of the north entrance of DFW. I have been on the North Dallas Tollway and transponders are required, there are no toll booths.
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Old Jul 14, 12, 9:59 pm   #3
 
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The toll roads around here are Zip Cash. In other words they take a photograph of your license plate, then look you up, and mail a bill to you. I just paid one the other day. You should ask the rental car company how they deal with this. For more information look here:

https://www.ntta.org/Pages/default.aspx

Avoid the freeways at the north end of the airport after 8 pm and some weekends. They are often closed in one direction or the other. Also watch for the lane you used yesterday is no longer there the next day. It is all passable, but a zoo at times. For more information on this look here:

http://www.dfwconnector.com/index_flash.php

and if you are going to Fort Worth here:

http://www.northtarrantexpress.com/

Welcome to Texas. Have a good time. Glad you are coming to visit.

Last edited by Paint Horse; Jul 15, 12 at 8:49 am..
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Old Jul 15, 12, 7:07 am   #4
 
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Zip Cash will not work

Zip Cash sends the bill to the owner of the vehicle which is the rental car company and they ding you for $25 per toll.

Most of the rental car companies will issue you a transponder so you only have to pay the toll.

Your Fort Worth and Grapevine runs should be toll free.

I agree with jjdub86's comment about LBJ (635). It is not too bad during non-peak hours. Look at 114 between Grapevine and Dallas and 121 between Grapevine and FW. Use 30 for direct routing between Dallas and FW.

Hope that helps.
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Old Jul 15, 12, 7:59 pm   #5
 
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Location: Dallas, Texas
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HilFly View Post
I'll be in the Fort Worth / Dallas / Grapevine area later this month. In some hotel and restaurant reviews that I have read, posters are complaining vociferously about traffic deadlock caused by construction, and not realizing that they should have had a transponder for toll roads until the $25 penalties arrived from the rental car company.

Is this the case? Are there toll roads in the area were $$$ don't work, just transponders, and am I going to spend crazy amounts of time in traffic?

Are there any roads / areas where the traffic congestion will be so bad I should avoid them?

Thank you.
Ask for a vehicle that is equipped with a Toll Tag, the rental car company will charge the tolls back to you with a small (not $25) service fee that will show up a few days after you close out the rental ticket. Companies that are charging the $25 would happen when a car doesn't have a Toll Tag and the toll is charges to Zip Cash. None of the Dallas area toll roads have booths anymore. You can avoid the toll roads but it's a pain to do so because they do get you from here to there quickly for the most part.

Regarding where the traffic congestion would be bad, basically all roads in and out of the airport are road hell now. Being a local for me I know all of the side roads, short cuts, places to avoid and so on. Now that being said, once you are free of the cluster of roads around the airport and their crazy construction as long as you are not in rush hour the other roads shouldn't be too horrible.

Make sure you take the tip for the DFW Connector website. In fact you can sign up for email alerts right before you get here and unsubscribe when you leave. The email alerts will let you know of road closures due to wrecks or construction, road diversions and so on. One night when I flew in I arrived at DFW to an email saying the entire North entrance was down to one lane. I exited south and circled around. Another time I got an email about a road closure due to an 18 wheeler and multi-car accident on 121 S/114E. I was trying to get to the opposite side of where the wreck was so I took another route.


Have a great visit in Dallas!

http://www.dfwconnector.com/index_flash.php
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Old Jul 16, 12, 7:26 am   #6
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I don't know all the details, but the Zip Pass may be what you want.

Zip-Pass

Quote:
Rental car companies have varying toll payment methods, but NTTA’s Zip-Pass offers a consistent way to pay tolls accumulated while driving a rental vehicle during a visit to Dallas/Fort Worth. A Zip-Pass account is available as a short-term method for visitors to pay for tolls while driving in rental vehicles. A Zip-Pass account allows motorists to avoid added fines, fees and opt-in costs charged by rental car companies and assures tolls are paid on time while driving a rental car or visiting Dallas/Fort Worth in a personal vehicle. Customers must call NTTA Customer Service at 972-818-NTTA (6882) to open a Zip-Pass.
https://www.ntta.org/custinfo/rental...s/default.aspx
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Old Jul 16, 12, 7:29 pm   #7
 
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Thank you all for your wonderful information and advice. I called the NTTG (thank you for the links) and they told me I had 2 options.

1. To open an Zip account with $40 in it, and then to close it after our visit and we would eventually get any unused money refunded.

2. Do it through Avis. I called Avis, then Avis at DFW. They told me that all the cars at DFW have TollTags, and they will charge us $2.95 per day plus any tolls. Obviously, this will be charged to my credit card when they get the info from NTTG.

We're going to go with option 2. I'll report back if we have any difficulties.

I'm not quite sure how the construction is going to impact us - we'll just have to hope for the best and hope the GPS can get us around the worst of it.

Thank you, everyone.
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Old Jul 17, 12, 9:02 am   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HilFly View Post
Thank you all for your wonderful information and advice. I called the NTTG (thank you for the links) and they told me I had 2 options.

1. To open an Zip account with $40 in it, and then to close it after our visit and we would eventually get any unused money refunded.

2. Do it through Avis. I called Avis, then Avis at DFW. They told me that all the cars at DFW have TollTags, and they will charge us $2.95 per day plus any tolls. Obviously, this will be charged to my credit card when they get the info from NTTG.

We're going to go with option 2. I'll report back if we have any difficulties.

I'm not quite sure how the construction is going to impact us - we'll just have to hope for the best and hope the GPS can get us around the worst of it.

Thank you, everyone.
The DFW Connector project is a massive mess. If you are heading to Grapevine from DFW, it will be difficult to avoid. GPS might not be so good because the roads at the north end of the airport are in a constant state of flux. Pavement that was once there is gone. Or blocked off. Exits have moved or closed. New, temporary onese may be there in place.

Best advice is try to get a general understanding of what roads you need to use before driving, then pay attention to the signs directing you to them.
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Old Jul 19, 12, 9:57 pm   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsmeeker View Post
The DFW Connector project is a massive mess. If you are heading to Grapevine from DFW, it will be difficult to avoid. GPS might not be so good because the roads at the north end of the airport are in a constant state of flux. Pavement that was once there is gone. Or blocked off. Exits have moved or closed. New, temporary onese may be there in place.

Best advice is try to get a general understanding of what roads you need to use before driving, then pay attention to the signs directing you to them.

I love living in Dallas but right now I hate DFW airport, especially in the evening. North exit was basically closed tonight with road closures and a detour exit. I knew that in advance so I went South to exit. 12 lanes open, between 8 and 10 cars in every lane. Thank goodness for those notification emails they send out for road closures and wrecks. It took 20 minutes to pay and exit and go 183E to catch the George Bush to swing around to North Dallas.

The DFW airport parking, drop off and pick up experience during this road construction is torture, it makes you grind your teeth, yell at you loved ones, lose you patience, vow to fly Southwest, swear off flying until that next trip. Leaving is the worst for me, especially since my preference is to go 635 E, or 121 N, or 114E and the north end is really hard to exit in the evenings. Getting into the airport isn't so bad because I am using 114E to Freeport Parkway to Airfield Dr. most of the time because it keeps me out of the lion's share of the traffic leading into the airport, from the North.

I don't have a really good picture of what this final road mashup is going to be and if it is going to be any improvement at all after they are done. It's very painful for me right now to fly in and out of DFW. I may have to start staying over an extra evening and fly back first thing in the morning. It is the late night (after 8) that is sending me off the deep end of airport stress.

When I was transferred to Dallas a few years I lived in Coppell. It took me 12 minutes to leave my house and be in a parking garage. Exiting was pretty much the same too 12-13 to my garage, ahhh the pre-construction days of DFW Airport.
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Old Jul 20, 12, 8:05 am   #10
 
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Look at the bright side. They say all will be finished by this time next year.
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Old Jul 20, 12, 10:45 am   #11
 
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Quote:
North exit was basically closed tonight with road closures and a detour exit. I knew that in advance so I went South to exit.
I wish I had known this when I arrived back from a trip last week one evening. Absolute and total cluster at the north exit. After 10-15 minutes of not moving at all, I hopped a curb and made my own detour. Thank goodness for SUVs. Ordinarily I wouldn't do such a thing, but I was completely worn out and desperate to get home.
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Old Jul 20, 12, 2:37 pm   #12
 
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Originally Posted by thedoorchick View Post
I wish I had known this when I arrived back from a trip last week one evening. Absolute and total cluster at the north exit. After 10-15 minutes of not moving at all, I hopped a curb and made my own detour. Thank goodness for SUVs. Ordinarily I wouldn't do such a thing, but I was completely worn out and desperate to get home.
Get the app form the web site. Then you can check whenever you want to.
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Old Jul 22, 12, 8:20 am   #13
 
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Let us know when you are coming and where you want to go. Maybe we can help you with route suggestions. There are so many narrow detours right now that a routine stall turns into a big mess, and the detours change all the time.

General rule is north exit is worse than south exit, but even that does not always hold.
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Old Jul 31, 12, 10:14 pm   #14
 
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Just want to thank you all again for your help and advice.

It all went very smoothly. We used the toll tag, although we havn't received the bill yet.

Construction was no more than a minor annoyance occasionally - we did not hit any serious delays or closures. Driving along a highway with a 1ft+ drop off the side of the lane was a bit scary though!

We allowed a ton of time to get to the airport in case we needed it so we arrived far too early, but DFW is a very easy airport in which to kill time. A couple of loops on the Skylink, a couple of margaritas and an hour in the AC and it was time to board.

Hopefully it will all be finished before our next visit.
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Old Jul 31, 12, 10:58 pm   #15
 
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Originally Posted by HilFly View Post
Just want to thank you all again for your help and advice.

It all went very smoothly. We used the toll tag, although we havn't received the bill yet.

Construction was no more than a minor annoyance occasionally - we did not hit any serious delays or closures. Driving along a highway with a 1ft+ drop off the side of the lane was a bit scary though!

We allowed a ton of time to get to the airport in case we needed it so we arrived far too early, but DFW is a very easy airport in which to kill time. A couple of loops on the Skylink, a couple of margaritas and an hour in the AC and it was time to board.

Hopefully it will all be finished before our next visit.
HilFly I am glad you had a trouble free trip and that you enjoyed Dallas! I think being prepared helps you deal with things like the DFW mess and you did your homework. Come enjoy our city in the fall, spring or winter when it's not 100+ degrees. You might like it even better!
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