Yesterday I attended a very important groundbreaking for increased mobility in our area: the I-35 expansion project between Lorena and Hewitt! This includes expanding from the current four lanes of expressway to six lanes, construction of continuous access roads through the length of the project, new bridge overpasses to maintain east-to-west local traffic, and a direct connector ramp from Spring Valley Road in Hewitt (FM 2113) to northbound I-35 into Waco. All these improvements will improve safety and ease of access to Hewitt & Lorena.
The work being done all throughout the Heart of Texas is a wonderful example of the commitments each of YOU have made to critical transportation needs in McLennan County. Your support in 2007 for Prop 12 bonding authority for the Texas Department of Transportation has made this possible, as well as the planning, coordination, and commitment demonstrated to TxDOT by local officials and stakeholders that the Heart of Texas was serious about improving I-35, the “Main Street of Texas”. In 2009, we held a series of I-35 Strike Force meetings, including local officials from Bell, Hill, and McLennan counties, as well as TxDOT.
We included stakeholders from each county and were able to present a united front as we approached funding requirements for I-35 expansion in Central Texas. Our efforts proved successful, and TxDOT responded with the first approval of the Prop 12 general obligation bonds to be dedicated to the I-35 corridor. This 9.2-mile stretch — Segment 3B if you check the very informative website http://my35.org/– is part of the many commitments TxDOT has made to I-35 in our region, and should dovetail nicely with improvements already begun. As we move forward, I ask all of you to keep your eye out for the following: 1) Safety in construction zones!
That should be at the forefront of everyone’s minds over the next couple of years; and 2) Look for the next groundbreaking this year to involve the I-35 Bridge over the Brazos River, including frontage lanes! I’m excited to see the progress and very critical improvements made for safety and mobility in McLennan County. Many thanks to ALL involved in all three counties for your efforts and concern for our constituents! God Bless Texas!