By David Tuma
The Texas Department of Transportation (Waco District) will begin a project to upgrade a portion of State Highway 317, in Bell County, Monday, August 15, 2016.
The roughly 2-mile project, designed to increase safety and efficiency, will widen the existing two-lane facility to a four-lane roadway with raised median, from FM 2305 (West Adams Ave) in Temple to FM 439 in Belton. Additionally, a new 2-lane southbound bridge will be constructed at the Leon River, next to the existing structure, to create a 4-lane crossing.
Local residents tent to use Hwy. 317 instead of I-35 creating congestion along both Hwy. 317 and Loop 121. In the mornings, even with school out, Loop 121 is congested and backed heading to Hwy. 190 toward Killeen. Traffic between Killeen and Temple depends upon Hwy. 439, Hwy. 317 and Loop 121 in Belton.
Old Waco Road is, just, better than a dirt road with no shoulder connected Belton and Temple. I-35 with high speed traffic isn’t a great option taking kids to school or to go shopping. The improvements of Hwy. 317 between
The work will take place between the hours of 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday with some overnight work possible. It is being undertaken by Big Creek Construction of Hewitt at a cost of $16.8 million and is scheduled for completion in late Summer 2018, weather permitting.
Motorists can expect to encounter flaggers and temporary delays within the project area, for the duration of the project, with limited temporary lane closures during the overnight hours, 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. TxDOT cautions motorists to be alert for construction personnel and equipment in the work areas.
“When completed this road provides easier access between West Temple and Belton. There will be challenges with any project. It will (Hwy. 317) will be an asset. Loop 121 expansion is in the early stages of planning,” said Paul Romer, Public Information Officer City of Belton.