Event speakers included Texas Transportation Commission Chairman J. Bruce Bugg, Jr., Waco Mayor Dillon Meek, McLennan County Judge Scott Felton, Baylor University President Linda Livingstone, Ph.D., Regional Director Jeff Williford of U.S. Senator John Cornyn’s office, and Webber Area Manager Paloma Fernandez Ruiz.
TxDOT awarded the $341.2-million hard-bid project to Webber in 2018. The project will reach substantial completion five months ahead of schedule, due to strategic planning, value engineering, and continuous improvements to the traffic control plan, built-in incentives, and TxDOT's flexibility in the build process. Webber’s construction team completed two major milestones ahead of schedule, one in 2021 and the other in August, which helped push up the construction schedule despite the height of the pandemic occurring a year into the project.
“The most challenging aspect of this project was the coordination of all moving parts to align with the same goal,” said Fernandez Ruiz, who has overseen the project since the beginning. “About 200 Webber employees and another 300 workers from more than 25 subcontractors were involved in the different construction phases.”
Webber began construction on the Waco portion of the corridor known as Main Street Texas (4B Section of the IH-35 Construction Project, also referred to as My35 Waco Project) in April 2019. The contract included widening and reconstructing 6.7 miles of IH 35 from Craven Road to 12th Street, a section of which crosses over the Brazos River. Among the highlights of the project:
- Construction of 22 bridges
- Removal of the existing concrete main lanes in both directions, replacing them with four lanes of 15-inch continuously reinforced concrete pavement (north and southbound)
- Reconstruction of existing concrete frontage roads
- Installation of more than 132,000 linear feet of reinforced concrete box culverts and pipe, electrical, concrete flatwork, landscape, irrigation, and pavement markings throughout the corridor
Due to the project’s location near the Baylor University campus, retail, and residential areas, minimizing disruptions to the traveling public and local businesses was critical. Webber worked closely with TxDOT, Baylor University, and community stakeholders through the IH-35 Steering Committee to accomplish construction as efficiently and safely as possible during the pandemic, and through the post-COVID lockdown transition, to provide effective access to business owners and residents.
“Since this project started, our team has worked strategically and diligently to create a plan that is adaptable for community demands when needed,” said Jose Carlos Esteban, President & CEO of Webber. “They brought the whole project team together to ensure the successful and timely completion of the project. We are proud of how our work and collaboration with all parties involved will stimulate the continued development of the IH-35 corridor, which is so vital to Waco.”