Enhancing interstate expansion

Texas Department of TRANSPORTATIONA conceptual drawing shows artist panels underneath new overpasses on Interstate 45 in Huntsville. 

The first sections of a $670 million interstate expansion through Walker County are nearing the final stages. 

Officials with Webber LLC, told members of the Walker County Commissioners Court earlier this week that its 6.7 mile section in southern Walker County could be completed as soon as October 31. This was confirmed by Jace Lee, the Walker County area engineer for the Texas Department of Transportation.

“Based on their current schedules, Webber should complete their portion of the project this fall, followed by Johnson Brothers this upcoming winter,” Lee noted.

The Johnson Brothers portion of the project — a 5.7 mile stretch from Vick Springs Rd. to Hwy. 19 — is pending the completion of overpass bridges at Veterans Memorial Parkway and Park Road 40. Webber is also working to complete its bridge at FM 1375.

“Both contractors are also working simultaneously to complete the remaining portions of the main lanes on the northbound side,” Lee added.

The local engineer noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has had little impact towards the construction timeline.

“As an essential service, TxDOT in partnership with both Johnson Brothers and Webber were able to utilize the lower traffic volumes, which allowed for extended lane closures during daylight hours to expedite construction,” Lee said. “Currently, there have been no delays due to the pandemic or weather.”

UP NEXT

Following the completion of the interstate expansion in southern Walker County, TxDOT plans to continue the expansion through Huntsville. The segment, which is expected to cost the state at least $170 million, is expected to go out for bids in July 2021 with construction tentatively set to begin in late 2021 or early 2022.

That 3.6 mile interstate expansion project will also replace bridges at Montgomery Road and Smither Drive. However, crews will construct U-turn bridges at the overpasses before demolition will begin.

Phase 2B of the project, which will expand the interstate to FM 1696 is currently scheduled to begin in 2023.

The entire expansion project through Walker County is scheduled to be completed by 2025.