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Much has been discussed about the widening of Interstate 35 through Waco from six to eight lanes, with many exit and overpass alterations along the way. Land acquisition to accommodate the project has cost Waco its El Chico restaurant, a slice of Texas Roadhouse’s parking lot, a La Quinta hotel near Baylor University that has been replaced on the opposite side of I-35, and the Astro Motel.

And it has cost the state $45.3 million, said Ken Roberts, a Texas Department of Transportation spokesman.

TxDOT started buying right of way to accommodate the widening in April 2014 and has closed deals on 179 parcels along the interstate between North Loop 340 and South Loop 340, Roberts said in an email response to questions. The task is complete, meaning land acquisition is not holding the project back, he said.

The $300 million project is set to start in the spring and stretch from 12th Street north to Loop 340.