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The Texas Department of Transportation will have a virtual public hearing Tuesday, Sept. 15, for its planned I-35 widening project in Cooke County.

The hearing’s purpose is to present the recommended build alternative, summarize the findings for the draft environmental assessment and receive comments from the public, according to a TxDOT press release.

The I-35 improvement project will span about 22 miles from Farm-to-Market Road 3002 to Merle Wolfe Road in Love County, Oklahoma, the Register previously reported. Tuesday’s virtual hearing is set to go live at 5 p.m. It’ll be accessible at txdot.gov — search for the keyword “I-35 Cooke County” to find the virtual hearing and supporting documents.

Comments on the project must be mailed, emailed, called in or entered inside the virtual hearing by 11:59 p.m. Sept. 30 to be part of the official record. The hearing and associated documents are expected to remain available after that, however.

All told, the improvement project is expected to cost about $753 million. Of that, $675 million is for initial expansion to six lanes — three each way — and the other $78 million is for further expansion to eight lanes.

Once it’s finished, the project will turn the interstate into an eight-lane highway, with four lanes in each direction, and convert the frontage roads to continuous one-way roads, according to the TxDOT release issued Thursday, Sept. 10. Crossovers will be accessible about every mile-and-a-half.

The proposal includes realigning portions of the roadway, two new bridges over the Red River, removal of the northbound Red River bridge and converting the southbound Red River bridge to a two-way frontage road.

In addition, TxDOT is proposing the removal of the O’Brien Street access to the southbound frontage road in Valley View, the Register previously reported. Information from TxDOT showed access at O’Brien Street and the I-35 frontage road will be closed. Residents will have access via Newton Street and Farm-to-Market Road 1307.

The proposed upgrades were initially presented to the public during a Texas Department of Transportation public meeting Thursday, Feb. 27, in Valley View.

TxDOT is awaiting Federal Highway Administration approval on the plans with phased construction expected in 2021, according to the TxDOT release.

The first stretch of planned roadwork, from 1.4 miles south of Spring Creek Road to one-fifth of a mile south of U.S. 82, is scheduled for letting in February 2021, the Register previously reported.

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