Customers of The Forum at Olympia Parkway were happy to see Santa Claus in a great, big red fire truck crossing the new Forum Parkway ramp at Interstate 35 North on Wednesday morning, Nov. 27. It signaled the end of months of traffic congestion and heavy construction just in time for the anticipated rush of the holiday shopping season starting with Thanksgiving on Nov. 28.
While Santa’s sleigh was in the shop for repairs, he rode inside a fire truck to officially open the new Forum Parkway ramp after a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Josh Donat, TxDOT Public Information Officer, said the ramp was built as part of a $24 million project to improve safety and address congestion along I-35 between Loop 1604 and Farm to Market 3009. It separates traffic from northbound I-35 headed to Forum Parkway and traffic from Loop 1604 to northbound I-35. Traffic from Loop 1604 now can reach northbound I-35 without the weave that comes from traffic heading to Forum Parkway. The effort dramatically improves safety in the area.
In August, TxDOT began construction on the new Forum Parkway exit bridge which Christina Arseneau, Senior Property Manager of The Forum at Olympia Parkway, said caused much confusion over where to exit, as well as traffic snarls for motorists wanting to visit the shopping center. But now those who take the new Forum Parkway ramp from I-35 North will be led directly into The Forum shopping center, Arseneau explained.
“It’s going to be beneficial for a lot of people including international shoppers from Mexico, traveling the I-35 corridor,” she said. “From Interstate 35 North, Olympia Parkway exit will also be an option to access the shopping center.”
During the months of construction, the property manager was in daily contact with TxDOT officials who provided her with updates on the progress of the construction of the new Forum Parkway bridge. She said TxDOT and its contractor, Dan Williams Company, worked six days a week to meet the Nov. 27 deadline for the opening of the new bridge.
“TxDOT was very responsive and completely understood our situation with the holiday season coming up,” Arseneau said. “They worked practically non-stop to finish the bridge on time.”
As one of the largest shopping centers in Texas, The Forum has over 120 shops, stores, restaurants and services. Visit www.shoptheforumsa.com or call (210) 566-7604.