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Source : Flickr, Ken Lund
June 17, 2022
Author : Alex Bustillos
The “Lone Star State” is preparing its roadways and infrastructure for the population boom expected to hit by 2050.
The federal government, in conjunction with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), has officially commenced the construction of the Texas segment of Interstate 35, a significant commercial route between Mexico and Canada, which will be improved as part of a $1.5 billion project.
On May 11, TxDOT officials celebrated the I-35 NEX Central project, whose development is scheduled to be finished in 2027. The I-35 is considered the fastest growing corridor in the US, and it connects Laredo, Texas, near the Mexican border, to Duluth, Minnesota.
TxDOT is collaborating with the Texas State Demographer for this project. A total of 9.5 miles of non-tolled upgrades along I-35, passing through San Antonio, Live Oak, Selma, and Schertz, will be designed, built, and maintained as part of this project. It also passes through the counties of Comal, Guadalupe, and Bexar. A further 18 miles of elevated main lanes will also be added.
One high-occupancy vehicle lane in each direction will be built as part of the project's elevated main lanes. Along with extending I-35 general purpose lanes from north of Olympia Parkway to south of FM 3009, it also entails reconstruction of the general-purpose lanes and bridges on Loop 1604 from Nacogdoches Road to the east of Biltmore Lakes.
On Loop 1604 from Nacogdoches Road to Biltmore Lakes and on 410 from Sagebrush Lane to FM 3009 along I-35, there will be operational upgrades, including the construction of ramps connecting main lanes to elevated lanes and the rearrangement of main lane ramps.
The project will utilize over 4,500 concrete beams, 31 million pounds of steel girders, and 6 million square feet of the bridge deck to build more than 800 bridge spans.
TxDOT has also completed phase I of a $527 million highway project, the US 281 North Expansion Project, which includes the HOV lanes between Stone Oak Parkway and Loop 1604 close to San Antonio.
Gina Gallegos, San Antonio TxDOT district engineer, said once the project is completed, it will reduce travel time for commuters. She said, "We are thrilled to bring this much-needed mobility improvement project to the highly travelled I-35 corridor that you see behind us today."
"We're right at about 29 million Texans, but we're on the road to gaining more Texans by 2050. And we're going to be at a population of right at 47 million Texans by 2050," TxDOT Chairman Bruce Bugg says. "What that means is that for TxDOT, it falls to us to think about what are the needs of not only the Texans of today, but our Texans of tomorrow."
In a previous report by Contractor News, we have seen how Texas Governor Greg Abbott launched a $3.3 billion bond package for infrastructure construction and improvement in the higher education sector.
We have also covered how the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA) received a $250.29 million low-interest loan from the US Department of Transportation for work associated with the 183N Mobility Project. The work would widen US 183 by three lanes over a nine-mile span from SH 45N/RM 620 to State Loop 1 in the Austin metropolitan area.
New express lanes will make it easier for emergency response teams to get to where they need to go quickly and to increase bus services for Capital Metro.
The state will also benefit from high speed rail in the coming years. Texans can look forward to safer and faster travel times, and a more efficient transportation grid.