Belton residents discuss 'much-needed' widening of Loop 121

Published: Sep. 28, 2018 at 10:52 PM CDT
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A lot of attention in Belton has been focused on the recently approved Lake-to-Lake Road, but another big expansion is much closer to becoming a reality.

Crews will soon begin construction on a five-mile stretch of Loop 121 between FM 439 to Interstate 35.

The current two-lane section from Sparta Road to I-35 would become four lanes and plans also include lanes for bikers and a path for pedestrians.

According to a 2017 Texas Department of Transportation study, the area will see traffic increase from just under 16,000 vehicles-per-day to nearly 24,000 by 2037.

Mike Magana has a law firm across from the Bell County Justice Center and he said he sometimes has to wait several minutes just to leave the parking lot.

"With events at the courthouse in the morning (or) 5 o' clock traffic (and) the Expo has events on the weekend, it is just too congested,” he said. “With the four lanes, it will open things up and make it less possible for accidents.”

He is not alone in welcoming the expanded road. Ashley Smith is also hopeful the smoother commute could bring new business to the area, but she does have one concern.

“As long as there are no houses being taken out, I think it would be perfect,” Smith said.

But according to TxDOT, the proposed project would displace one residence and one storage shed.

The transportation agency will host a public meeting on Oct. 18, 2018 beginning at 5:30 p.m. with an open house session to begin at 6:30 p.m.