Construction on Interstate 35 through Gainesville is still far from complete, but is progressing as planned, according to the engineer supervising the work.
“There have been some delays in the construction phase of the current project due to right-of-way and utility relocation issues, but the contractor has been willing to find other work areas and continue the work. progress of the project out of phase. The contractor is also required to submit schedules on a monthly basis (for review),” said TxDOT engineer Lance Pomykal, who oversees work in the Gainesville area.
The contractor, Austin Zachry JV, is working on the section through downtown Gainesville. Pomykal says the contractor is on schedule, as of now, to meet the December 2024 completion date for the works affecting city traffic. He added, however, “There will be some minor changes to the overall traffic phasing of the project due to the reversal of the overpasses and unforeseen conflicts that will arise on the ground.”
The initial scope of the project included widening the freeway from four lanes to six lanes, with the possibility of expanding to eight lanes in the future as traffic increases between the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex and the Red River. Acceleration and deceleration lanes are included, as are one-way and two-lane frontage roads stretching from Denton County to the river.
According to Pomykal, other planned changes include:
• Upgraded LED lighting system and added hi-mast poles for greater coverage;
• Additional pedestrian elements to connect the secondary school of Gainesville to the town of Gainesville;
• Improved stormwater drainage for the Gainesville section of I-35;
• Signage with lighting for the cities of Gainesville and Valley View, as well as Medal of Honor Park.
The overall project is divided into three local phases, Pomykal said: Phase 1 – seven miles from I-35 (including Gainesville), from 1.4 miles south of Spring Creek Road to a quarter mile south of ‘US 82. Work began last summer by Austin Zachary JV and will be completed in 2024; Phase 2 (still to bid) – this picks up from Phase 1 and extends north to Exit 1 in Oklahoma. It starts in the summer of 2024 and should be completed by the end of 2029; Phase 3 (still to be tendered) – extends from 0.7 miles north of FM 3002 to 1.4 miles south of Spring Creek Road. This work is expected to take place from 2026 to 2031.
Cooke County Commissioners have spoken with Pomykal and TxDOT about installing a weigh station along I-35. Commissioners approve of the idea because it would be a new source of revenue for the county’s coffers and it would better regulate high-speed tractor-trailer traffic.
The weigh station would be built in the area where the southbound rest area was, just north of Spring Creek Road. TxDOT would prepare the site, Cooke County would pay for the construction, and the station would be manned by state employees.