TEMPLE, Texas (KWTX) For the first time since 2005, main lanes on Interstate 35 from south Waco to south of Temple will be smooth sailing as a $789 million, six-phase and three county construction project nears completion.
(Photo by Megan Vanselow)
Every day, nearly 114,000 drivers travel past I-35 and New Road in Waco according to the most recent traffic count from the Texas Department of Transportation and a near constant 111,000 in Temple just past H K Dodgen Loop.
The project has taken more than a decade, but drivers are starting to enjoy the outcome.
“It will really help with our commute from Temple to Waco because we go to Waco all the time.” Temple resident Meagan Justice said Tuesday.
Car Cox of Troy says he travels the interstate almost every day and to him the changes have been life changing.
“It has made my travel wherever I go a whole lot faster and a whole lot safer,” he said.
But the road to get to this point was a long one, as businesses felt the impact from years of restricted access to their stores.
“If it wasn't for a deep roots I'm not sure we would have made it,” the co-owner of Clem Mikeska’s Barbeque, Anna Mikeska, said.
“One year they even shut down our exit for a whole year and that was hurtful,” she said.
With the work happening right outside the door, she says business has improved over time.
“We've gotten to know a lot of the people that are in charge of this so they'll come into the restaurant and give us an update,” Mikeska said.
round the corner, Rylander’s Hamburgers say it’s been hurting as well.
“We lost some business from the other side of the highway because it was hard to get to us,” owner Cottle Rylander said.
Both are now waiting for the bridge at 57th Street to open, which is expected to be completed with the other access roads and bridges by the end of the summer.