Temple celebrates I-35 construction completion, Waco eyeing five more years

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TEMPLE, Texas (KWTX) A ribbon cutting ceremony on the 57th St. bridge in Temple Thursday signaled the significant end of I-35 construction through the city.

Photos by Bill Gowdy, Megan Vanselow

A police squad car and fire truck ceremoniously crossed the bridge that's just been opened.

"I think, we as leaders of Temple, knew that this was opportunity to change the face of what 111,000 cars a day see, coming thru Temple," said Mayor Tim Davis during Thursday's ceremony.

TxDOT spokesman Randy Hopmann thanked the people of Temple for their patience during years of construction work, "We understand there is inconvenience that comes with every construction project. Thank you for your patience, thank you for your understanding, and your cooperation, but we're glad this day is here."

Hopmann went on to acknowledge new work underway like in Waco, "But we have a ways to go, our work is never finished on I-35. We have about $26 billion worth of other improvements identified along this corridor."

The construction work in Waco on I-35 from 12th St. to North Loop 340 is clearly evident from high up on the 7th floor of the Baylor administration tower.

Waco residents are facing years of delays and headaches as Temple experienced.

Baylor University spokesperson Lori Fogleman says the construction work is affecting Baylor employees but they will learn to cope,

"So, knowing your alternate routes, I think, is a very important skill to be able to employ all during the next four or five years of this project," she said.

Next week, 3,000 new Baylor freshmen will converge on the campus from all over the nation for move in day.

That will include I-35 shutdowns, but Fogleman has good advice for them, "Follow your GPS only to Waco. And then follow the specific route that we are giving you. So we are taking students on four different routes that will take them into different entry points on the backside of campus."