Interstate 820 and the city of Fort Worth. For a short period of time through at least 1963, Interstate 820 traveled along Texas 183 to a terminus near Vickery Boulevard in the southwest portion of the city.1
Part of the Fort Worth beltway, Interstate 820 (Jim Wright Freeway) wraps around the west, north, and east sides of the city. The southern portion of the beltway consists of Interstate 20. Also, U.S. 287 ties into the Interstate briefly along the southeast quadrant of the beltway. When originally conceived, Interstate 820 was planned to be routed over the entire beltway. However, this plan was based on the idea that Interstate 20 would run along the path currently occupied by Interstate 30 via the now-defunct Dallas-Fort Worth Turnpike. Once Interstate 20 was rerouted to a new alignment south of the city centers of Dallas and Fort Worth, Interstate 820 was truncated to include only 270 degrees of the beltway.
Interstate 820 around Fort Worth was initially planned as a complete (360 degree) beltway, back when Interstate 20 was planned to follow the Dallas-Fort Worth Turnpike. Once Interstate 30 was relocated to the turnpike in 1978, Interstate 820 was truncated to cover three of the four "sides" of the beltway.2
This map inset from the 1969 Texas Official State Map (Fort Worth inset) shows that Interstate 820 was originally contemplated as a 360-degree beltway around Fort Worth (except that the northwestern quadrant was unconstructed at this time). Note the short section of Texas Loop 820, which is today part of Texas 183; the freeway loop extends further west now than it did in 1969. At the time, Interstate 20 was proposed to follow the Dallas-Fort Worth Turnpike rather than its current alignment across the southern tier of both urban areas. Today, Interstate 820 only includes the western, northern, and eastern legs of the beltway; the southern leg is designated solely as Interstate 20.
By 1986, the belt route of Interstate 820 was completed, and it was fully signed all the way around the 360-degree loop as shown by this scan of the 1986 Official Texas State Map. By the 1990s, Interstate 820 was eliminated from the overlap with Interstate 20 on the southern leg.
Graphical overhead on Interstate 20 westbound for the pending split with Interstate 820 north. Three lanes are maintained for the beltway, as Interstate 20 reduces to two for a quick exit of the Fort Worth metropolitan area. Although there is no exit tab on this sign, Interstate 820 north is Exit 428 of Interstate 20. Photo taken by Justin Cozart (08/02).
U.S. 377 intersects Interstate 20 nearby the Interstate 820 western terminus at Exit 429A. Therefore the ramp from U.S. 377 features access to both Interstate 20 west and Interstate 820 north. As for the Interstates themselves: The beltway north serves western portions of Fort Worth, White Settlement, Lake Worth, and Sansom Park Village. The next city of interest for Interstate 20 westbound is Abilene, 138 miles to the west. Photo taken by Justin Cozart (08/02).
Interstate 20 enters the Fort Worth metropolitan area just in time to intersect Interstate 820 and its western terminus at Exit 428. No control point is used for Interstate 820, as Interstate 20 recently split with Interstate 30 for traffic headed to the heart of Fort Worth. Just east of the Interstate 20 merge onto the beltway is U.S. 377/Exit 429A. The north-south route heads into downtown Fort Worth from Interstate 20 and enters the metropolitan area from the town of Granbury 27 miles to the south. Photos taken by Brian LeBlanc/Marc Welby (03/15/01) and Robert Lee (06/02/06).
Historic Western Terminus - Overhill - Fort Worth, Texas
Perspective from Interstate 820 west
Approaching the split of Texas 183/Southwest Boulevard (Exit 432) from Interstate 20 westbound. Both of these routes were originally Interstate 820, with Texas 183 constituting the older version of the Fort Worth loop. Photo taken by Justin Cozart (08/17/03).
Beyond the Exit 442 gore point of Interstate 20, Texas 183 progresses northwestward to Vickery Boulevard and U.S. 377. This stretch of freeway carried Interstate 820 in the early 1960s through to at least 1962. Photo taken by Justin Cozart (08/17/03).
Button copy overhead at the cloverleaf ramp of Texas 183 west to Vickery Boulevard. Ahead historic Interstate 820 westbound progresses toward the freeway end, U.S. 377, and Interstate 30. Photo taken by Justin Cozart (08/17/03).
A few blocks east of U.S. 377, the former Interstate 820 freeway draws to a close. The traffic light ahead is the first at-grade intersection encountered at Overhill. Photo taken by Justin Cozart (08/17/03).
Nearing the southeast entrance to the Fort Worth Beltway (Southeast Loop). Interstate 20 westbound acquires U.S. 287 northbound via Exit 444 only to shed the U.S. highway via Interstate 820 northbound. Business U.S. 287 meanwhile travels nearby to Interstate 20 west to Exit 442A via the Mansfield Highway, the original U.S. 287 path through southeast Fort Worth. Photo taken by Justin Cozart (08/17/03).
Interstate 20 westbound at the split with U.S. 287 north and Interstate 820 northbound beginning. This location represents the southeastern extent of the Fort Worth city limits. Both Interstates see a significant amount of mileage within the municipal boundary. To the north U.S. 287 splits at the first Interstate 820 interchange (Exit 33A). Photo taken by Justin Cozart (08/17/03).
Justin Cozart, email: "I-820 pre-1962 western end." August 17, 2003.