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Tuesday, April 22

Frontage road, ramp closures on I-35 through Natalia set

In order to speed up a project on the exit ramps and frontage roads of I-35 through Natalia that began last month, the Texas Department of Transportation has approved a major proposed amendment to the traffic control plan that will close the northbound exit ramp to Farm to Market 471 for about three weeks beginning Wednesday, April 23.

Northbound traffic exiting FM 471 will use the exit for County Road 770. Perhaps the more major change is the temporary conversion of the access road along the northbound frontage road to one-way between CR 770 and FM 471. Traffic from FM 471 will need to take southbound I-35 to the Bigfoot exit (exit 124) and cross over the highway, then head north to CR 770 to reach destinations on the northbound side of the highway between the two roads.

In later phases of work this temporary conversion to one-way frontage roads will impact other segments or road, including segments north of FM 471.

TxDOT officials reviewed the plan with representatives of the city of Natalia before giving the go-ahead, ensuring the closure doesn’t interfere with the city’s growing economic hub. CRG, the contractor for the project, brought the revision to TxDOT after struggling to progress work while battling daily traffic.

The revised plan will allow crews to more rapidly reconstruct the base and surface layers of the frontage road as planned. Traffic should return to its typical configuration in mid-May. That target could be impacted by weather, by equipment performance or by materials availability.

Overall completion of the $1.7 million project is expected before the 2014-2015 school year begins.