By Sarah Chacko

Killeen Daily Herald

On the way to Austin last Friday night, drivers may have encountered a familiar afternoon scene rows of brake lights.

Rush hour-like traffic at 10 p.m. may become more commonplace as the Texas Department of Transportation begins using new construction methods to minimize the impact on drivers.

TxDOT spokesman Mark Cross said increasing the work going on during non-traditional hours, like nights and weekends, is one way the department is combatting its growing workload in heavy traffic areas.

It makes it more efficient and less of an impact on motorists, he said.

In the Austin District, which includes Hays, Travis and Williamson counties, there are 13 listed projects with metro lane closures. Eight of those are along Interstate 35.

Austin District spokesman John Hurt said the major clog when heading down to the capital city is the interchange under construction between State Highway 45 and I-35.

Its going to be a hoss, Hurt said.

Just south of U.S. Highway 79 in Round Rock, Hurt said motorists can expect some sort of closure in that area several nights a week. Throw in the access road construction, and it would be every night.

Hurt said the list of projects are not expected to be done for another year.

The Waco District, which Killeen lies in, lists only six current construction projects in Bell and McLennan counties.

Waco District spokesman Ken Roberts said there currently arent any major projects, like the ones in Austin, that will cause heavy congestion. But they may be coming.

The construction outside of Hillsboro on the I-35 split is off the highway now, but could be moving into the metro lanes in the near future, he said.

Temples major project on I-35 and South Loop 363 is scheduled to go out for bids in August, but Roberts said construction probably wont start until January 2006.

Hurt said the best way for motorists to stay ahead of the traffic is by checking updates on TxDOTs Web site at

With daily updates regarding ongoing construction, Hurt said the department tries to make the information as accessible as possible. If we know about it, you should know about it.

Contact Sarah Chacko at

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