The North Central Expressway is probably the best known stretch of the Central Expressway, a popular highway that runs north—south through the Dallas, Texas area. With its eight continuous general-purpose lanes (except for a six-lane part when the freeway passes underneath Interstate 635) beginning in downtown Dallas and extending into Plano – the North Central Expressway runs through several of Dallas’ more affluent residential neighborhoods, as well as some of Dallas’ bustling commercial areas. In addition, the freeway is adjacent to several metropolitan Dallas’ most popular districts; specifically the Telecom Corridor, Uptown, Cityplace, NorthPark Center and Lower Greenville. Unlike many of the country’s freeways, the North Central Expressway was built with aesthetics at least somewhat in mind, as well as of course safety and other travel-related concerns. Every structure along the route was designed to be as visibly pleasing to the eye as possible – from the overpass support columns to the retaining walls running alongside the expressway. The idea for the Central Expressway was first proposed in 1911 by Dallas City Planner, George E. Kessler, who offered up an idea: purchase the right of way of the Houston and Texas Central Railroad, remove the tracks and build a Central Boulevard, or Central Expressway. While it remained nothing more than idea for about a decade, work finally began on the thoroughfare in the 1920, although the project initially faced serious opposition from the railroad companies. The first portion of the North Central Expressway opened to traffic in the 1950s. Before reconstruction began in 1992, the North Central Expressway was considered to be one of the most poorly designed freeways in the entire nation – plagued with heavy traffic, due in part to the rapid population growth of the Greater Dallas area. Reconstruction was completed in 1999 for an estimated $600 million.