Waco: Upgrades in store for storied traffic circle

(TxDOT photo)
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) Upgrades are in the works for Waco’s more than 80-year-old traffic circle, where traffic is picking up with the opening of Chip and Joanna Gaines’ Magnolia Table restaurant.

Waco city officials and the Texas Department of Transportation have been meeting for the past few years to discuss how best to address the increasing traffic generally and in particular the change in traffic patterns that will result from the start of work on the Interstate 35 expansion late this year.

The city has requested that TxDOT add lane stripes to show there are actually two lanes to the circle and install signs about direction and turns.

TxDOT has agreed to make these upgrades over the next 45 days.

There is also talk a possible bus stop of and crosswalks to comply with ADA rules for pedestrians with special needs.

City officials are working with the Magnolia Group which is conducting a study to prove that a stop in this area would be beneficial for the Waco Transit System to create.

On average, nearly 15,000 people drive the circle each day.

"Certainly traffic has increased it has increased significantly and we would expect it to continue to grow so again we will be watching that and we want to at least get some safety devices in here as quickly as we can,” TxDOT spokesman Ken Roberts said.

The circle was constructed in 1935 at the convergence of U.S. Highway 81 and U.S. Highway 77 and is one of the last remaining examples of a traffic control device that was popular in the 1930s and 1940s in Texas.