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Ground broken on I-35 double decker project

Brian Kirkpatrick
Texas Public Radio
State transportation officials and state lawmakers were among those to break ground on a new double decker project on I-35. A ceremony was held in the parking lot of the Santikos Galaxy Theatre near I-35 and Loop 410.

Local and state officials were present Wednesday to break ground on a construction project that will turn I-35 into a double decker freeway through eight cities and three counties at a cost of $1.5 billion.

From now and through 2027, an upper level with three lanes in each direction will sprout up above the lower lanes of I-35 between Loop 410 and FM 3009 in northern Bexar and southern Guadalupe, and Comal counties.

The double decker project also includes high-occupancy vehicle lanes and flyovers from I-35 to Loop 410 North and Loop 1604 West.

The nearly 10-mile freeway construction cuts through several cities, including San Antonio, Live Oak, Selma and Schertz.

The chairman of the Texas Transportation Commission J. Bruce Bugg of San Antonio said the traffic on the I-35 corridor has mushroomed.

"The fastest growing corridor in the entire United States of America is between San Antonio and Austin. Number one fastest growing corridor in the entire United States," Bugg said.

Around 200,000 vehicles travel that current stretch of freeway that is the target of the project. Traffic will more than double to well over 400,000 vehicles by 2044. By 2050, San Antonio's population is expected to grow by 77% and Austin's by 110%, according to Bugg.

Bugg called I-35 one of the most congested roadways in Texas.

The double decker construction is part of a Texas Department of Transportation plan called "I-35 NEX Central," the first of three expansion projects along a 20-mile stretch of I-35 from just north of AT&T Center Parkway to FM 1103.

"We would not be here today without the support of our partners, stakeholders and community members," said Tx-Dot District Engineer Gina Gallegos, referring to some of those in attendance at the groundbreaking. That includes Texas senators Donna Campbell and Jose Menendez and State representatives John Kuempel, Barbara Gervin-Hawkins, Steve Allison, and Elizabeth "Liz" Campos.

Contractor Alamo NEX Construction, LLC has begun preliminary work. State transportation officials said residents can stay up to date on the project and receive e-mail alerts on construction activity at www.i35nex.com.

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