The face of Temple will begin changing next summer.

The Texas Department of Transportation executed a $241.3 million contract this week with Baton Rouge-based James Construction Corp. to widen Interstate 35 from four to eight lanes, said Kate Tholking, spokeswoman for Primoris Services Corp., parent company of James Construction.

The 48-month project will expand six miles between north and south Loop 363 in Temple beginning mid-2013, TxDOT spokesman Kenneth Roberts said. It is part of a major expansion effort designed to enhance highway safety and lessen congestion between Salado and Hillsboro.

Officials estimate that 1 million vehicles pass through the area every 10 days.

The $50 million expansion is being paid for by the city of Temple, the Texas Department of Transportation and includes a $20 million commitment from the Texas Transportation Commission.

Earlier this year, expansion work began on an eight-mile stretch of I-35 from north of Troy to Bruceville-Eddy, and along 3.3 miles south of Temple in Salado.

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