A pair of road projects that has led to recent standstill traffic on southbound Interstate 45 en route to destinations south of Madison County could stretch until October, according to the Texas Department of Transportation.
Traffic slows to a crawl or a stop each afternoon on I-45 from just inside the Walker County line to around the rest areas near the intersection with FM 1696. On July 8, collisions and other incidents had traffic backed up well into Madison County, near the intersection of Highway 67.
“[The project] is the overlay of the Southbound lanes of IH 45 with permeable friction course (PFC) material,” Bobby Coldwell, public information office for TxDOT’s Bryan District said in an e-mail Friday. “This project was started last summer and was postponed due to weather and other project priorities.
“We hope to be completed with the project by October.”
Coldwell said separate contractors will perform a concurrent project to upgrade the metal beam guard fence in Madison and Walker counties, which could further aggravate travel through the area, though steps have been taken to alleviate the length of the pain.
“[It’s] a safety treatment project on IH 45 in Freestone, Leon, Madison, and Walker counties. They have been working in Freestone and Leon for the last six months,” Coldwell said. “The prime contractor has hired two additional crews to perform work in Madison and Walker counties to expedite the work.”
Local traffic changing their route to Highway 75 has caused a related buildup of traffic on that road. Throw a tractor into the mix, the formerly half-hour trip to Huntsville can expand 45 minutes. Meanwhile, by rush hour, the 28-mile drive to the Huntsville posts times well over an hour.
A major rebuilding of I-45 running south of Huntsville and extending past New Waverly is not due for completion until the end of 2020, according to TxDOT records. Madison County drivers will contend with construction on OSR until a similar December 2020 end date.