Since You've Been Gone: Major I-35 Changes around Baylor Campus

  • I-35
    A major, four-year reconstruction project by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) on a 6-mile stretch of Interstate 35 from North Loop 340 to 12th Street significantly impacts the City of Waco and Baylor University.
  • Baylor I-35 construction update map Aug 2019
    Map of the construction impact around campus as of August 2019.
  • Baylor I-35 construction update August 2019
    Details of construction impact around campus as of August 2019.
  • Move2BU map 2019
    Move2BU map showing specific travel directions for incoming freshmen assigned to routes A, B, C and D.
  • Move2BU resource map
    Move2BU map showing various resources, including shuttles, parking, first aid/hydration stations and recycling locations.
Aug. 19, 2019

Media Contact: Lori Fogleman, Baylor University Media and Public Relations, 254-710-6275
Follow us on Twitter: @BaylorUMedia

WACO, Texas (Aug. 19, 2019) – Students and faculty who haven’t been on the Baylor University campus since May will return to find Interstate 35 alongside campus significantly different than when they last saw it. And with that, the campus community will have to employ a different mindset – be patient, alert, resilient and “Know Before You Go” – when traveling to and from campus, to the downtown side of the interstate and other areas in Waco.

The University also will welcome more than 3,000 freshmen to campus – assisted by 3,200 volunteers – for Move2BU on Wednesday, Aug. 21, and Thursday, Aug. 22, at various campus residence halls. (See specific information below regarding Move2BU traffic routes and parking lot closures on both days.)

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) began its major, four-year reconstruction project in May on a 6-mile stretch of Interstate 35 from North Loop 340 to 12th Street, which significantly impacts the City of Waco and Baylor University.

WHAT IS DIFFERENT?

Among the major changes over the summer:

  • Significant southbound and northbound frontage road work to prepare for mainlane reconstruction beginning in 2020.
  • Removal of the 8th Street pedestrian bridge.
  • Removal of the 11th/12th street bridge.
  • Closing of southbound Exit 334A to 4th/5th Streets.
  • Temporary closure of portion of Dutton Avenue from 5th Street to 8th Street through the fall semester (near Martin, Kokernot and Brooks residence halls). Please note that when exiting from the Baylor Bookstore parking lot and Fifth Street parking garage, vehicles can only turn right. Expect delays at peak times.
  • Temporary traffic pattern on University Parks Drive from Robinson Tower to Dutton Avenue.

These changes, along with regular 24/7 construction activities, will disrupt normal routines for students, faculty and staff. Be prepared for travel delays on the Interstate and for increased traffic on and around campus. “Know Before You Go” by checking real-time traffic conditions at http://waco4bmap.org, part of the BE SAFE BE SEEN initiative to help everyone plan and safely navigate routes through the construction zone, whether by car, bike or on foot. This real-time resource also provides traffic information on alternate routes, live camera feeds along the construction corridor and shares any closures planned over the next 24 hours.

MOVE2BU TRAFFIC ROUTE AND PARKING LOT CLOSURE INFORMATION

Faculty and Staff: Please read the important information below about parking lot closures and regular traffic route changes on both days in preparation for move-in.

Incoming Freshmen: Please follow your assigned route (A, B, C or D) once you enter Waco. The I-35 exits at MLK and University Parks Drive will be open for southbound travelers. The I-35 exit for 17th/18th Streets will be open for northbound travelers. Details on specific route assignments have been emailed to all incoming freshmen and also can be found on the My Housing portal at www.baylor.edu/Move2BU.

Closer to campus, look for the directional signs that match your color-coded hangtags and follow the instructions of volunteers in the yellow vests, and you will get where you need to go on campus as quickly and efficiently as possible. More than 3,200 volunteers will help make Move2BU a positive experience for new students and their families.

After moving in, parking will not be available next to residence halls. Campus parking garages and the Ferrell Center lot will be available, with shuttles running throughout the day to take you back to your car.

MOVE-IN PARKING LOT CLOSURES, REDIRECTED TRAFFIC ROUTES

Baylor will CLOSE some campus parking lots and interior streets beginning at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 20, and change traffic patterns during the morning Wednesday, Aug. 21, and Thursday, Aug. 22. All affected lots and streets are listed below.

All cars that have not been moved will be towed to the Ferrell Center Parking Lot. It is the owner’s responsibility to confirm any perceived exemption/exception from towing. Please contact parking services at 254-710-PARK (7275).

PARKING LOT CLOSURES FOR TUESDAY, AUG. 20 – WEDNESDAY, AUG. 21

The parking lots/slots listed below will be closed from 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 20, through noon Wednesday, Aug. 21:

  • Allen-Dawson Halls (across 8th Street)
  • Kokernot Hall (from the drive behind Brooks Flats through to Dutton Avenue)
  • Speight Avenue between 7th and 8th Streets (both sides)
  • Baylor Avenue from 7th to 8th Streets (both sides)
  • All street parking on 3rd, 4th and 7th Streets
  • Front of North and South Russell Hall
  • Collins (back lot)
  • Martin Hall parking lot and the entire Bookstore parking area (1st floor of 5th Street Garage)

PARKING LOT CLOSURES FOR WEDNESDAY, AUG. 21 – THURSDAY, AUG. 22

The parking lots/slots listed below will be closed from 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 21, through noon Thursday, Aug. 22:

  • Collins Hall (back lot)
  • Speight Avenue between 7th and 8th (both sides)
  • Kokernot Hall (from the drive behind Brooks Flats through to Dutton Avenue)
  • Baylor Avenue from 7th to 8th Streets (both sides)
  • Wiethorn Visitors Center parking Lot
  • All street parking on 3rd, 4th and 7th Streets
  • M.P. Daniel between 5th and 7th Streets
  • Penland Hall parking lot
  • Martin Hall parking lot and the entire Bookstore parking area (1st floor of 5th Street Garage)

TRAFFIC PATTERN CHANGES

Baylor will redirect traffic patterns from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 21, and Thursday, Aug. 22, to help facilitate the move-in process. Please plan an alternate route to your destination on both days during the morning hours.

Head-in parking on MP Daniel (next to the Bill Daniel Student Center or SUB) is NOT available on Wednesday or Thursday morning.

Please note that all traffic on 5th, 4th and 3rd Streets will flow FROM Speight Avenue TOWARD I-35.

PEDESTRIAN ACCESS

Those walking or biking to and from Baylor and the downtown side of I-35 should never cross the Interstate on foot. Use the crosswalks under 4th/5th Streets or University Parks Drive. Please be aware that this access is in an active construction zone, so be alert and mindful of drivers when walking through that area.

TxDOT suggests these tips while walking or biking through the construction zone:

  • Where there is a sidewalk, use it!
  • Wear light-colored or reflective clothing at night and bright-colored clothing during the day.
  • Be where drivers expect you to be. Cross streets at crosswalks and intersections.
  • Don’t be distracted by electronic devices that take your eyes and ears off the road.

WHY IS THIS CONSTRUCTION HAPPENING AND WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS WHEN IT IS COMPLETED?

The project to rebuild the full roadway will replace aging infrastructure built in the 1960s. The benefits for the Greater Waco area will be the overall capacity, safety and mobility for travelers. The improvements include:

  • Widening mainlanes to 4 lanes in each direction.
  • Improving frontage roads and ramps.
  • Reconstructing bridges and improving interchanges.
  • Adding U-turns.
  • Improving bicycle and pedestrian access.

For the Baylor and downtown Waco areas, this includes improved pedestrian and bicycle access under the overpasses at University Parks Drive and 4th and 5th streets and a new overpass at 11th and 12th Streets. Improved lighting and traffic and pedestrian signals will provide safer mobility between campus and the downtown Waco area.

CAMPUS COMMUNICATIONS

Baylor has assembled a campus-wide subcommittee to support the overall goals of the I-35 project by communicating construction impacts to faculty, staff, students, alumni and visitors in alignment with TxDOT’s communications efforts, helping build awareness for the campus community as they travel through the construction zone as drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists.

The subcommittee has provided TxDOT with projected major event dates over the next four years, including football games, Commencement, Premiere events for prospective students, move-in days and the first day of classes, so they can limit lane closures during these periods.

The subcommittee also established a dedicated website at www.baylor.edu/I35 that provides for important I-35-related information for students, faculty, staff, alumni and visitors to the campus.

HELPFUL INFORMATION TOOLS

  • KNOW BEFORE YOU GO: Check real-time traffic conditions ahead of time at http://waco4bmap.org.
  • Follow @TxDOTWacoPIO on Twitter for up-to-date lane closure and construction information.
  • Visit www.My35.org/Waco to sign up for text or email notifications about lane closures and travel delays.
  • Email My35Waco@txdot.gov to subscribe for general project updates via text or email.
  • Call or text 254-313-WACO (9226) to speak with a construction team member.

Please slow down, stay alert and follow all signage through the work zones.

ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY

Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. It provides a vibrant campus community for more than 17,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 90 countries to study a broad range of degrees among 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.

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