"Among [the company's] subsidiaries is a quarry located in the vicinity of the projects that will supply much of the paving aggregate over the next several years," Hester says. "This streamlining of material production and delivery will facilitate construction progress." Additionally, James has partnered with Holt Caterpillar "to utilize electronically controlled equipment for greater efficiency and accuracy," Hester says.

Other contractors with I-35 projects under contract include Williams Brothers Construction Co., Houston ($166.8 million), Webber, Houston ($100.9 million), SpawGlass Construction, Houston ($15.1 million) and The Lane Construction Corp., Cheshire, Conn. ($212 million).

A Bridge Runs Through It

Lane's contract, the project's largest single contract award, includes a 9.79-mile reconstruction of I-35 in McLennan County and two extradosed bridges spanning the Brazos River in Waco that connect the frontage roads on either side.

The contract is the largest stand-alone contract in Lane's history, says Eric Pruemer, assistant project manager. Lane will have an onsite concrete batch plant to deliver the 440,000 cu yd of concrete and a hot-mix asphalt plant to deliver about 300 tons for the project.

The interstate portion includes a 17-span direct connector bridge near Hewitt, construction of 19 other bridges, 2.4 million cu yd of excavation, 1.2 million cu yd of embankment, 9.24 mile of reinforced concrete storm drainage pipe, 4.19 mile of precast concrete box culverts and four crossings over I-35.

Lane mobilized on that portion of the project in the spring, and began work on the extradosed bridges in early July.

AECOM of Los Angeles worked with TxDOT's bridge division on the design of the 620-ft-long extradosed bridges with continuous steel trapezoidal box girders. When completed, this will be only the third bridge project of its kind in the U.S. Extradosed is a hybrid of the girder and cable-stayed design. The bridges include a 250-ft main span and 46-ft-tall twin towers.

"There was a lot of discussion about what kind of bridges to put there," Petter says. "The City of Waco, Baylor University and McLennan County all wanted these bridges to have a signature look."

The bridges are expected to add a dramatic new look to the city for travelers on I-35, especially in conjunction with Baylor University's new stadium that is being constructed immediately adjacent.