TXDOT PIO: Northbound access road will be made two-way from FM 2268 to Thomas Arnold later today
According to TXDOT, the southbound access road (west side of interstate) in Salado south of Thomas Arnold Road is closed until the construction of the new access road and access road bridge over Salado Creek.
Shortly after the flooding earlier this week, TXDOT announced that the southbound access bridge and road south of Thomas Arnold will remain closed until the new southbound access bridge is completed.
“Due to the severity of the damage they found when they examined the old southbound access-road lanes, they are not going to try to repair it,” Jodi Wheatley, public information office for TXDOT Waco District I-35 told Salado Village Voice.
Currently, TXDOT has turned a short section of the northbound access road into a two-way road so that travelers can reach the FM 2268 overpass without having to travel down Baines St. That route involves crossing the interstate at Thomas Arnold and heading south on Main St., connecting to the access road on the east side and heading south to the FM 2268 intersection. From there, travelers can travel east on FM 2268 or they can cross over the interstate to travel south on the southbound access road.
Furthermore, Wheatley told Salado Village Voice late last night via email that the northbound access road “is supposed to end up being two-way from Thomas Arnold to FM 2268 by the end of the day tomorrow, if it goes according to the plan he (project manager) explained to me. It was going to be a two-step change. I thought he had told me later that the change would be sooner than he originally explained but maybe I misunderstood (it’s been a short hectic week and with all the cancellations it’s been hard to keep things straight).”
According to Wheatley, the decision to close the southbound access road south of Thomas Arnold was not an easy one: “The section of the access road at the creek suffered breaks in the surface asphalt layer, which allowed the rushing water to get under it and cause more damage to both the asphalt and the road base, which was washed out pretty badly.”
Wheatley added that she spoke to the project manager and that it was determined that “It would take a complete rebuild rather than just repairs to the access road there, which would slow down the construction work on the mainlanes and would also be very expensive and then in just a few months it would have to be torn out again permanently.”
Using the northbound access road as a two-way road “will save time and money and should actually make the mainlane construction go faster because access will be easier for the work crews.” Apparently the access road bridge that has been closed is unsafe for cars and traffic, but safe enough for construction trucks and equipment.
“It was a hard decision,” Wheatley said. “It is safer not potentially confuse driver by making the access road one-way, the two-way and the one-way again, but this is a tough situation and the made a difficult decision.”
“There have been so many delays already they really didn’t want to subject Salado to more if we didn’t have to,” Wheatley said, adding that work crews “will be able to do some preparatory work on the closed area of the southbound access road while they are working on the new mainlanes.”
“All of it is expected to take several months, but we don’t have exact expected start and end times/dates.”
There is no completion date coming from TXDOT for the southbound access bridge.
TXDOT announced that the access road on the east side of the highway, which has been northbound only for several months, is being converted to two-way between FM 2268 and Thomas Arnold.
That is expected to happen later today (May 29). When (and if) it does happen, travelers can then cross the interstate and then travel southbound on the east side access road to the FM 2268 cross back over the interstate and then gain entrance onto the southbound interstate.
“There will be a sign directing traffic where to get back on the freeway,” Wheatley stated. “If a vehicle doesn’t get back on the freeway where they are supposed to, they will be directed to cross Thomas Arnold to Main St. and turn south.”