Interstate 35 construction

Vehicles pass through construction on Interstate 35 on Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2013, in Salado.

BELTON — A new maintenance contract for Interstate 35 isn’t expected to affect the ongoing construction.

The two-year, $11 million contract was recently awarded to Houston and Austin-based ISI Contracting Inc. by the Texas Transportation Commission.

Mark Cross, spokesman for the Texas Department of Transportation’s Austin District, said ISI will primarily be working from the Bell and Williamson county line near Salado to the border of Hays and Comal counties, south of San Marcos.

Routine maintenance will include “mowing, sweeping, vegetation management, lighting, guardrail upkeep, and snow and ice control,” he said.

Cross went on to assure Texas motorists the work being performed will “have no direct impact on traffic.”

“We don’t want to take on anything that will hinder drivers,” Cross said. “We are very aware of how important I-35 is to Central Texas.”

Although the Transportation Commission awarded the contract before Christmas, crews are not expected to begin working until spring 2014.

“It will take a few months to iron out the details,” Cross said, adding the contract will not interfere with the ongoing I-35 construction in Bell, McLennan, Hill, Johnson and Ellis counties.

“We can’t perform maintenance until the construction is complete,” Cross said. In addition to I-35, ISI will perform maintenance on more than 100 miles of Austin-area roadways.

The roads that will be affected include Loop 1 from Lady Bird Lake south to William Cannon Drive; U.S. Highway 183 from Loop 360 east to Cameron Road; and U.S. Highway 290/Highway 71 from Joe Tanner Lane east to Montopolis Drive.

In a written statement, TxDOT said the routine maintenance is estimated to save taxpayers $96 million over five years.

Ken Roberts, spokesman for TxDOT’s Waco District, said the massive I-35 construction project, which covers 63 miles, will remain a fact of life in Central Texas for the foreseeable future.

“What motorists are seeing right now on I-35 will continue, and in some cases increase, through 2017,” Roberts said. He added that drivers on I-35 should expect construction related lane closures, slowdowns and detours “throughout next year.”

Additionally, construction on U.S. Highway 190 from Harker Heights to Fort Hood will continue throughout next year and into 2015. He added that as both projects advance, drivers will start seeing portions of roadway get completed.

“What’s happening right now on I-35 and 190, where everything is under construction, won’t be going on all the time,” Roberts said. “As we move forward, portions will get completed.”

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