Lorena Celebrates Completion of I-35 Expansion
LORENA, TX State legislators and representatives of TxDOT and the Lane Construction Corporation joined the residents and officials of the city of Lorena, Texas, in celebrating the on-time completion of the I-35 expansion through town, markedly reducing what had been heavy congestion through the area. Sen. Brian Birdwell and Rep. Charles "Doc" Anderson spoke at the Lorena ribbon-cutting ceremony, hosted by Lorena Mayor Ted Roper and held at the Lorena City Hall, due to an extended stretch of intense rainstorms and an uncertain forecast. Representative Anderson presented the mayor with a Texas flag flown over the state capitol building, in honor of the occasion.
Other special guest speakers were the Regional Director for Congressman Bill Flores's office (and Lorena resident) Jana Hixson, TxDOT Chief Engineer Bill Hale, and Waco District Engineer Bobby Littlefield, along with Rich Bean, Regional Manager of the Lane Corporation, prime contractor for the project. Littlefield praised the "tremendous cooperative effort" between the contractor, the city and TxDOT, and attendee/Lorena business owner Linda Graves called the marking of the completion "a sweet day."
Begun in March of 2012 with an initial bid of $169.4 million, the work extended almost 10 miles, from FM 2063/Sun Valley Blvd. to just south of Woodlawn Road, near Bruceville-Eddy. The new construction provides three mainlanes in each direction (replacing the original two lanes each way), with new, continuous one-way access roads, dynamic message boards, illumination, and signature bridges providing a welcoming new look for Lorena's residents and visitors.
Construction included several noteworthy elements, including Lane's tremendous accomplishment of completing the project with zero lost-time accidents during more than 1.5 million man-hours worked, according to Bean. In addition, it was part of the testing ground for a new End-of-Queue Warning System that has been credited with greatly reducing the incidence of crashes in overnight mainlane closures.