By Ana Ruiz Brictson | Staff Writer
As the population of Waco grows, the demand for higher-quality roads has risen too. Now, with Baylor students adding to the number of cars on the roads, many want to know when the construction will finally end.
The project that started back in 2019 reached its halfway mark, as it is in its second year of four total. Waco’s I-35 construction continues to progress toward reaching its goal to improve mobility and safety for all citizens.
Before the project began, the main lanes of I-35 that went through Waco were mainly an infrastructure that had concrete from the 1960s, and there was limited capacity compared to what is now being forecasted.
“This project is really important because we’re seeing more people move here,” Jake Smith, Texas department of transportation’s Waco district public information officer, said. “Not only does it address safety issues and improvements, but it also adds that capacity on the interstate that can withstand the population in and around its limits.”
The project is currently focused on the reconstruction of the north side main lanes of I-35 with 4th Street and 5th Street being closed Sunday. This allowed construction workers to place the beams around the area above 5th Street and 6th Street, which will hold the main lanes of I-35.
As they’ve seen construction progress, students have spoken about what it’s like to have this construction surround the university.
“We had the bridge over at Kokernot; it was easy to walk across, especially when you didn’t have the weekend meal plan,” Dallas senior Anusha Gadepalli said about her experience before the construction began. “I’m excited to see what Waco will look like in a few years after the construction is done.”
Houston freshman Megan Golding said the construction has made the roads confusing, but despite driving through all of the disturbance, it is not a big deal.
“I think it will be easier to walk around Waco versus driving,” she said.
Smith encouraged all of Baylor’s students, staff and faculty who are driving through the area to visit the Waco4bmap website to see news on lane closures and traffic. Also, pedestrians are encouraged to visit this website to view updates on crosswalks.
The reconstruction of I-35 is still on the same track as initially planned, which expects it to be completed by 2023.