WEST (February 28, 2013)-As TxDot approaches the final stages of its I-35 expansion project, citizens in West are still wondering just how highway alterations will affect their businesses in town and along the interstate.
I-35 is a welcome mat for West. The little big town is known famously for its Czech heritage and kolache bakeries.
But it's also known for being right in the middle of I-35's 1.9 billion dollar expansion project.
Thursday night, members from TxDot's Hillsboro offices met with residents from West to explain upcoming closures on I-35 due to construction.
TxDot began stages of construction near West in 2011, and is expected to be finished at the beginning of 2014.
Even though construction is in its final stages, upcoming closures may pose a threat to West businesses.
Yet, Mayor Tommy Muska says everyone in the town has been compliant and is patiently awaiting completion of the project.
He praised the project and TxDot's cooperation with West.
"When it's finished, it's going to be great. It's going to open economic development on the west side of I-35 that was never really there to begin with," Muska says.
Starting Monday, the overpass bridge intersecting Tokio road and FM 1858 will be closed for the next two months.
Though the news was difficult for residents to swallow, many were happy when TxDot unveiled a little artwork they had been working on.
The new retaining walls of I-35, built in West during the expansion project, display murals of Czech dancers.
It's artwork that Muska hopes intrigues more people to stop in West.
"TxDot has made it really easy to guide people off the interstate to get a kolache, and that's what we want," Muska said.