Saturday, July 31, 2010

Toll Road – DFW Turnpike


We called it the Toll Road at our house and when it opened in 1957, it really shortened the time it took to go into either Ft. Worth or Dallas. I was driving it when I was 13 or 14, with the parents in the car of course. There was a Howard Johnson’s service center about mid-way to Dallas, near the Arlington turnoff, Hwy 360 (HJ is the wide area at left in the 1957 picture above--the view is west toward Ft. Worth). Mom loved their fried clams and I think they were on a special on Wednesdays, so we ate out there frequently. For me, it was an opportunity to drive in a relatively safe environment…there was very little traffic in those early days on the Toll Road. It took us maybe 10-15 minutes to drive out there.

The nearest crossing is Hwy 360 (Watson Rd.) and the next crossing to the west is Hwy 157 (Collins Rd.). On the left (south) side adjacent to Toll Road just this side of Collins is where the ball park sits today. Six Flags was also built on the left (south) side of the Toll Road just on the other side (west) of Hwy 360. Going right (north) on Hwy 360 in this picture would take you to the west side of Greater Southwest Airport. Today that same road would take you into the south entrance of DFW. To the left a short distance on 360 is UT-Arlington. It goes without saying that everything in sight in this picture is completely built out today and has been for years.

A deal had been cut to get the road built and the deal was that once it was paid for by the tolls, the tolls would be dropped and the road turned over to the State. That day came in early 1978 and despite a spirited opposition put up by entrenched factions of the Turnpike Authority citing the need to keep their professional cadre of toll road experts together for future use, the toll booths came down as scheduled. It took just over 20-years to pay off the construction costs.
The 1965 map below shows the DFW area as it was just as we left EHHS for whatever life had in store for us. Current maps are readily available online if you want to compare with later development throughout the next 40-years. This site has a fine collection of HQ scans of old DFW area maps and other Texas cites. If the link fails, try enclosing the following terms in quotes and Google: Old Road Maps of Texas


1 comment:

Bob Loftin said...

Thanks for the post. My family used to take the Turnpike from Dallas to Arlington for baseball games. I was trying to remember a little about it today. Love the pics of the old toll booths!