• November 23, 2014

I-35 access bridge to close

Transportation official says detour could last ‘3 to 6 years’

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Posted: Monday, April 7, 2014 4:30 am

TEMPLE — Interstate 35 construction will affect Central Texas for several more years, and one of the major changes about to reroute travelers is the closure of the West Adams Avenue exit bridge to I-35 southbound.

The bridge will be closed later this spring or early this summer, and West Adams will be used as a detour, sending traffic to 43rd Street and Airport Road before finally leading to I-35, according to John Habermann with the Texas Transportation Institute.

Habermann and representatives from the Texas Department of Transportation updated Temple City Council members during a Thursday workshop focusing on I-35 construction projects.

That detour from West Adams to I-35 should be in place in the next 30 to 60 days, he said.

Temple City Manager David Blackburn asked how long the detour would be in place.

“Three to six years,” Habermann said.

That’s only one of the many upcoming changes area motorists will have to navigate.

The section of I-35 construction that spans from North Loop 363 to Midway Drive began this year and is expected to be completed in 2018.

The cost of work in that 7.56-mile area is $241.3 million, with James Construction Group in charge of the project.

Construction near Avenue H from I-35 to 41st Street, which began in March, will affect traffic until late 2015, with frontage road barricades and low profile concrete barriers.

“You’ve got a lot of action in that area with new utilities and pavement,” Habermann said.

Meanwhile, 15th Street between Industrial Boulevard and Zenith/Fannin Loop is expected to be closed until early summer while culvert work is underway.

The Third Street bridge over southbound I-35 will be demolished later this summer, Habermann said.

Avenue D at the southbound I-35 frontage road will close later this month, and will remain closed until summer 2015, he said.

Another portion that will be closed is the frontage road north and south of Avenue D from mid-April until summer 2015.

“That will be closed after the entrance ramp to I-35,” Habermann said. “There’s a lot of work in that area for the next year.”

Other construction areas include:

  • The southbound main lane entrance from Loop 363 to Midway Drive.
  • The northbound frontage road from Mayborn Center to Loop 363, which will become one-way north this summer.
  • Work at the BNSF Railroad southbound frontage road bridge near WilsonArt.
  • The southbound frontage road at Pegasus Drive/Old U.S. Highway 81 will be one-way starting in mid-April. Access to the I-35 frontage road will be eliminated as the area becomes a cul-de-sac.

Make things easier

The construction process will result in disruptions in the short term, but the end result will make things easier for both Temple-area residents and I-35 travelers, said Jodi Wheatley, I-35 information specialist for the Texas Department of Transportation.

“The construction on I-35 will be pretty intense for Temple for about four years, but the end product will be worth it,” she said.

For I-35 travelers, the eventual result will be a minimum of three lanes of traffic in each direction on I-35 from San Antonio to the Hillsboro area.

The part of I-35 between 57th Street and Industrial Boulevard will be four lanes in each direction, Wheatley said.

“There will also be continuous access roads, and that will make a huge difference for Temple,” she said. “If there is an accident on I-35, traffic can be rerouted to the access roads, and it will make it much easier to get from one side of town to the other.”

People asked Wheatley why all the roadwork has to be done at the same time, instead of one project at a time, she said.

“One reason is that we have the funding now,” Wheatley said. “I also added up all the projects, and if they were done one at a time, it would take 37 years to complete construction.”

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