Driving south on Interstate 35, there’s a new landmark to greet motorists in Temple.
The Temple Welcome Monument — which spells TEMPLE in large capital letters — recently was completed as part of the Interstate 35 reconstruction project in Bell County.
The sign will welcome the drivers and passengers of the 111,000 vehicles that travel through the city each day.
The monument is north of Northwest Loop 363 and is awaiting electrical connections for lighting, Ken Roberts, Texas Department of Transportation spokesman, said.
Grass and shrubbery will be planted at the monument, he said.
“That landscaping has a year of successful monitoring and maintenance, by the contractor, built into the contract as part of the final acceptance by TxDOT,” Roberts said in an email.
Grass between Temple and Troy has been established along I-35, and is currently being monitored and maintained and is pending final acceptance, Roberts said.
The monument is part of the I-35 Reconstruction Project, a longtime state project to widen the highway to at least three lanes in each direction from San Antonio to Dallas.
The Temple portion of the reconstruction project was 7.5 miles and cost $241 million.
Although Temple construction finished in August 2019, work on I-35 in Waco continues at an aggressive pace with a scheduled completion date of 2023, Roberts said.
The multi-year project included widening the main lanes of the highway through Temple to four lanes in each direction, along with the rebuilding of all bridges, except those crossing the southern and northern portions of Loop 363, according to TxDOT.