PRESS RELEASE
From the Office of State Senator Troy Fraser

For Immediate Release
April 24, 2000
Contact: Bill Scott - (512) 463-0124  w/ Senator Troy Fraser    or
Kirsten Voinis (512) 463-0122  w/ Senator David Sibley

PUBLIC MEETINGS ON IH 35 PROJECT SET;
SENATORS GIVE UPDATE ON EXPANSION PROJECT

WACO -- Central Texans soon will be able to examine and offer their opinions on plans to widen Interstate 35 in a series of public meetings, state Sens. David Sibley and Troy Fraser announced Monday. The two senators and officials with the Texas Department of Transportation held a news conference in Waco to announce the upcoming public meetings and to provide an update on the status of the construction project.

"Public input is extremely important as TXDOT finalizes details on this major construction project," Sen. Sibley said. "As both car and truck traffic continue to increase through our area, we need to make sure Interstate 35 will meet our needs for years to come."

Fraser said the widening of Interstate 35 through Central Texas has been a major priority for business leaders and residents along the interstate for years.

"The public meetings will be a great vehicle for Central Texans to let TXDOT know how much this project impacts their lives everyday," Fraser said. "The daily volume of Interstate traffic in some parts of Bell County has increased from 35,000 vehicles to nearly 80,000 at peak hours over the past eight years."

"Widening this major north-south corridor will mean enhanced public safety for motorists, and a more efficient movement of goods up and down the Interstate as the truck traffic, which accounts for about 30 percent of all vehicles, continues to increase," Fraser said.

The $1 billion construction project, scheduled to be completed in 10-12 years, will expand IH 35 to six lanes in the 94-mile stretch through Bell, Falls, McLennan and Hill counties (TXDOT's Waco district).

"Increased trade with Mexico already has crowded the Interstate," Sibley said. "With the number of both large trucks and passenger vehicles traveling the Interstate expected to perhaps double in the next 20 years, the importance of this project to all Texans cannot be underestimated."

TXDOT will hold 10 public meetings between June 15 and July 27 in different cities along IH 35. (See following schedule). Other meetings, time and place to be announced by TXDOT, will be held later in 2000.

The agency recently completed the majority of ground survey control and aerial mapping needed in the Waco District. By mid 2001, a complete plan for the entire 94-mile stretch should be completed, which will allow TXDOT to begin acquiring the necessary right-of-way.

This stretch of the IH 35 widening is being overseen by a special project office in Waco, which opened in November. The office includes a director, office manager, three engineers and two designers.

Central Texans can keep up-to-date on the project by logging on to www.I35waco.com, a special web site created by TXDOT that is devoted to IH 35 improvements through its Waco district. The site also provides an opportunity for the public to give feedback to TXDOT.

TXDOT IH 35 PROJECT
PUBLIC MEETING SCHEDULE

(Doors open at 6:30 p.m.; Meetings start at 7 p.m.)

June 15 Bruceville-Eddy City Hall-Council Chambers 143A Wilcox Dr.
June 27 West West Community Center 205 W. Tokio Road
June 29 Lorena Lorena HS Cafeteria #1 Leopard Lane
July 6 Hillsboro Hill College 112 Lamar Dr.
July 11 Troy Troy Community Center 201 E. Main
July 13 Salado Salado Intermediate School Cafeteria 550 Thomas Arnold Road
July 19 Waco Convention Center Brazos Room 100 Washington Ave.
July 20 Lacy-Lakeview Civic Center 503 E. Craven
July 26 Temple Temple College (tentative)
July 27 Belton Belton Jr. High Auditorium 400 N. Wall St.

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