BELTON — After sitting idle for a year, construction is underway on the flyover that will connect northbound Interstate 35 to U.S. Highway 190.
“It was always planned to have the flyover completed after the main lanes were done or at about the same time because it couldn’t be used until the main lanes were finished and we could connect to them,” said Jodi Wheatley, spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Transportation.
Construction on the structure began in fall 2010 but stalled in 2013 because of issues with right-of-way purchases in other areas of the I-35 widening project, Wheatley said.
The Texas Legislature tasked TxDOT with getting the projects underway as quickly as possible, but the right-of-way process wasn’t completed by the time construction began, Wheatley said.
The new flyover was being built mostly on existing TxDOT right-of-way, so the contractor started on it first, but it became evident work needed to begin on the main lanes and some sections of new right-of-way were ready for clearing, according to TxDOT.
The contractor switched to another phase of construction, but started working on the flyover project again several weeks ago.
The off-ramp is well underway and is expected to be completed later this year or early next year, according to TxDOT.
Several phone calls to James Construction Co. to ask about the progress on the flyover were not returned as of press time Friday.
The flyover is expected to benefit traffic going toward Fort Hood, as well as Belton residents and commuters passing through the area on a daily basis. It is part of the $2.1 billion project to widen I-35 to three lanes in each direction between San Antonio and Hillsboro.
“The flyover will be more efficient for travelers and reduce traffic. It’s an important component of the regional transportation system of Bell County,” Belton spokesman Paul Romer said Friday.