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Much Needed Interstate Expansion Project Comes to Waco

Dec. 16, 2009

And that main street is getting wider throughout the county. Ken Roberts, public information officer for Txdot's Waco district says changes in town will be primarily on frontage roads in the city, with lanes added north and south of town.

Most travelers on the interstate have felt the crunch at some point or another. Austin to Dallas on the freeway is one of the busiest stretches of the country, with an average of 80 to 100,000 vehicles passing through Waco daily. The already antiquated highway, says Roberts, is not prepared to deal with the spilloff of the 1000 people who move to Texas every day.

Roberts states that the biggest thing people in Waco will notice will be the construction projects that come with extending the frontage roads across the Brazos. This will make it possible for travelers to go fully north and south on the frontage roads in case of an accident on 35 that diverts traffic, something not currently possible. But it's the rural areas that will feel the changes the most. The freeway will be widened to three lanes in both directions, with improvements being made to frontage roads and entrance ramps. And it's the businesses and homes along the freeway in places like Lorena that will be affected. A business owner in Lorena who didn't wish to be interviewed on microphone said that he worries about the affect it will have on their traffic, and worries about neighbors who will lose some of their property for the project. Another business owner who sits on the I-35 frontage road said he won't go to tonight's meeting, because TX-dot is just going to go ahead and do it anyway. In that case, he's right, but Roberts says there's still reason for concerned citizens to attend the meeting.

The meeting tonight is in Lorena at 6pm at the performing arts center. Tomorrow evening, a meeting will be held in Waco at 6:30 at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church behind University High School. Roberts describes what attendees can expect.

Roberts expects work to begin by 2012; residents and business along the interstate will spend the interim time pondering the impact of a road project decades in the making, one that Roberts said will allow goods, services, travelers, and that ever presend sound in Waco to flow more smoothly in the decades ahead. Again, meetings tonight in Lorena at 6pm, and at Waco's Sacred Heart Catholic Church tomorrow at 6:30. For KWBU news, I'm Derek Smith.

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