The Woodlands-based general contractor charged with a $341 million reconstruction of Interstate 35 through Waco is gearing up to start construction toward the end of next month.
“We know this is a priority project for TxDOT,” said Josh Goyne, president of Webber LLC’s heavy civil division. “We know this is something that the residents in the area are very concerned with. I think we will do everything we can to work with TxDOT to make sure we execute the project as quickly as we can and try to minimize the impact to the local public.”
Webber’s contract for the project, covering a 6.7-mile stretch from the north end of Loop 340 to 12th Street, is the largest the company has won through a bid process since it was founded in 1963, according to the company.
Webber officials had been tracking the project for quite some time as they awaited the opportunity to place a bid, Goyne said.
“It’s a large, high-profile project, a project that really fits us well with where our major resources are located with offices in Dallas, Austin and Houston,” he said. “We like the larger projects.”
Goyne said the company has experience with projects similar to the one planned for Waco, but this one is just a little bigger.
“This is a large project for TxDOT and for us,” he said. “I think that it was a project we studied. With all the different traffic movements and things like that we just felt like that was a good project to go after.”
The company plans to seek out local subcontractors and hire from the local labor pool, said Nick Wolf, who will serve as Webber’s area manager. The project could call for hiring 75 to 100 people over the duration, Wolf said.
TxDOT has planned for the work to accommodate increased truck traffic coupled with regional population growth creating a travel demand that exceeds the interstate’s capacity.
The project includes bridge replacements and layout changes, addition of a main travel lane in both directions, reconstruction of existing frontage roads, installation of more than 132,000 linear feet of reinforced concrete box culverts and pipe, and utility and landscaping work.
Work and lane closures will take place during restricted hours to minimize the impact to travelers and local businesses.
During a November public meeting, TxDOT Waco District Engineer Stan Swiatek said the contract would include $15 million in initiatives, including for meeting incremental deadlines, to keep the project on schedule.
Work is scheduled to take about 46 months, with substantial completion expected in Spring 2023.
Wolf said the company has worked on projects with similar incentive plans before.
“We think the incentive-based project fit us well because of the priority to get the project done as quickly as possible,” Wolf said. “That fits our culture very well.”
TxDOT Waco District spokesman Ken Roberts said the state looks forward to working with Webber over the next few years.
“TxDOT is pleased with the selection of a company with a reputation of such high-level professionalism and quality of work, for this project,” Roberts said.