Six Lanes over Central Texas: TxDOT Completes Major Milestone of the I-35 Expansion Project
That sound you heard coming from I-35 on March 19 was the collective sigh of relief from motorists, residents and construction crews as all six lanes of the Interstate were opened up to traffic from Abbott through West. Finally, after nearly four years of construction, seven miles of new roadway — known as section 5B of the I-35 Waco District reconstruction project — is nearly finished.
That sigh was echoed by others as more new lanes were opened in the succeeding days through Elm Mott, meeting up with a three-lane section already finished just north of Waco, through Lacy Lakeview and Bellmead, the section of I-35 construction known as 5A. With all but short sections of the new third lanes in each direction open near Ross Road and FM 308, almost 20 miles of new highway is open to the new three-lane width.
|Six lanes now facilitate traffic flow along the seven-mile stretch between Abbott and West.|
"It really is a milestone," says Lead Mobility Coordinator John Habermann of the Texas A&M Transportation Institute. "It's worthy of a celebration when we open all lanes of traffic, and when all of the frontage roads and overpasses are complete."
West and TxDOT are working on at least one ribbon-cutting ceremony this spring for the area, spotlighting and celebrating the massive accomplishment with the community's residents and businesses.
Most of the remaining mainlanes to be widened in Section 5A will be completed this month, and the rest before Memorial Day. When that work is complete, a total of 41 miles from Waco to the I-35 E-W split will be open to three lanes of traffic in each direction.
"It's a real feeling of relief to see everything being finalized, but what is just as important as having all three lanes available is having the newly constructed continuous frontage roads," Habermann adds. "In the event of an incident or other emergency, there is much more room for motorists and emergency personnel."
And in the event of everyday, ordinary travel, drivers have more room to spread out and breathe more easily as they head for their destinations.