New LBJ Tollway to Open in December


The first managed, or variable, toll lanes in North Texas will open December 14. Phase 1 of the LBJ Express is from east of Preston Road to Greenville Avenue and these toll TEXpress Lanes are also the first of their kind in the country because they have a guaranteed level of service of 50 mph.


Michael Morris, director of transportation for the North Central Texas Council of Governments, says, "You should be able to go 50 mph if you want to any time of day in this corridor, as well as the other TEXPress Lanes we have throughout the region. You decide for yourself what kind of hurry you're in."


For the first six months, there will be a fixed price, depending on the time of day. After the trial period is over, the price will change based on real-time traffic demand to keep the TEXprss Lanes moving at least 50 miles per hour. As traffic levels and demand increase,the price goes up; as traffic volume drops, the price goes down.


The first TEXpress Lanes in Dallas will cost between 15 cents to 95 cents when they open. The pricing depends on the time of day and the direction of travel. Peak travel time is between 6:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.Eastbound rates are peak: 30 cents to 95 cents; non-peak: 15 cents to 65 cents and westbound rates are peak: 30 cents to 75 cents; non-peak: 15 cents to 45 cents.


Drivers can use any Texas TollTagissued by the North Texas Tollway Authority. Thosethat don’t have TollTags will generally pay 50 percent higher rates to cover invoice and processing costs associated with zip cash. The rate will be cut in half for drivers with more than one occupant in the vehicle, as well as motorcycles.The toll is higher for large trucks or vehicles with trailers.After six months, the preliminary pricing levels will be reviewed and could go higher or lower, depending on traffic demand.


On I-35E, lanes are expected to be ready by the middle of 2014. On I-635, the lanes are mostly below ground and scheduled to be completed in late 2015 or early 2016. Ultimately, these managed toll lanes will be on Interstate 35 from the junction with Loop 12 to Interstate 635 and then Interstate 635 to the junction with Highway 75. When completed, the LBJ Express will dramatically increase the capacity of the current roadway, reduce traffic congestion with 13.3 miles of new TEXpress Lanes and give drivers more control over their daily commute.


“The TEXpress Lanes are Texas' solution to the lack of state and federal transportation funding, because the project brings in private dollars in the form of public/private partnerships,” says David Laney, board chairman of the LBJ Express, a collaborative project of the Texas Department of Transportation and the LBJ Infrastructure Group LLC, comprised of Cintra US, Meridiam Infrastructure and the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System.


Morris says. "If an incident occurs on the freeway lanes, we can move people on to these express lanes."  For more information, visit or

I am Publisher of Natural Awakenings Dallas Metroplex Edition Magazine.  For more information affecting your environment, air quality and quality of life go to

Pin on Pinterest

Food Cravings Similar to Addictions - What we need to know for the Holidays

This interview with Dr. David Winter originally appeared on Baylor Health Care System’s blog Scrubbing In and in the December issue of Natural Awakenings Dallas Magazine.


Have you ever heard someone say they are addicted to cupcakes? What about ice cream or any other type of food? Well, they aren’t just using the word “addicted” as a figure of speech, at least according to one new study.

Like drugs, alcohol or nicotine, certain foods can trigger an addictive response in the brain similar to that of other vices. I sat down with NewsRadio 1080 KRLD to give the “skinny” on food cravings.

Q: We all have foods that we crave. But is this new study saying it’s not just a craving, it’s an actual addiction?

Studies show that certain foods impact the same brain pathways as drugs or gambling.

In another study out of Boston Children’s Hospital, they looked at foods’ dietary glycemic index, a measure of a food’s ability to raise blood sugar levels and the effects on the brain.

Foods that were higher on the index, namely refined carbohydrates, can alter brain function in similar ways to someone who is addicted to drugs/alcohol or cigarettes. Foods that are high on the glycemic index unsurprisingly are those that are high in sugar like sweets, but also foods like white break, white rice, breakfast cereals, potatoes and processed foods containing glucose, maltose and maltodextrins.

Another problem with these foods, the study notes, is that consuming these foods temporarily raise blood sugar levels and can lead to a crash which leads to feelings of hunger again later.

Q: How were researchers  able to tell that these carbs were indeed altering the brain in ways that other foods don’t?

In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 12 obese men were given one of two different milkshakes. The milkshakes had different kinds of sugars—one had high-glycemic index carbohydrates while the other milkshakes had low-glycemic carbohydrates. They were similar in every other way including calories, proteins, fat and taste. MRI scans of the participants were taken afterwards.

In the high-glycemic group, they showed intense activity in nucleus accumbens, which is a part of the brain that is associated with addictive behaviors including drugs and gambling.

There have been similar studies before using MRIs but those have been questioned because they normally compare foods like vegetables against cake. This particular study compared food essentially the same in every way except for one.

Q: Whether we call it a craving or addiction, when you step back, this study doesn’t really seem to be telling us anything that new. We all know we like to eat food that we’re well aware is bad for us. So what are the implications?

The biggest cause of obesity is overeating—so understanding that the reason people overeat may be the same process behind addiction, which could help develop new treatments. It may not just be a lack of willpower that leads people to eat, there are biological factors at work too.

Most anti-obesity drugs have ended in failure. Learning more from these studies can be a step in changing that.

Dr. David Winter is the President, Chairman and Chief Clinical Officer of HealthTexas Provider Network. He is the voice of “This Week in Medicine” airing on NewsRadio 1080 KRLD.

Posted by Publisher of Natural Awakenings Dallas Metroplex edition Magazine.  For more articles like this and other information about Green, Healthy and Sustainable living see us at 

Dec 16 2013


Pin on Pinterest

Find out how what we eat creates a more peaceful world.   Read about the World Peace Diet  at