Drayton McLane explains how Interstate 35 transformed Central Texas

Posted at 7:51 AM, Feb 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-27 14:39:16-05

Interstate 35 is a part of everyday life in Central Texas. It's good for travel, good for business and good for being under construction at least somewhere along its trek through Texas.

Central Texas business icon Drayton McLane, Jr. made many of his millions after he moved his family's wholesale grocery and distribution business from Cameron to Temple in the mid-1960s, specifically to be close to I-35, which was being completed at the time. 

McLane says I-35 these many years later is still vital to businesses and communities along its corridors.

"I'd hate to see what Temple would look like, Belton looks like and what Waco would look like if there weren't I-35," McLane said.

He says he also remembers an editorial written in the 60s that said that no great city had ever been developed that wasn't either on an ocean, on a river, or on a major highway system, and stresses I-35 is the spine of Texas.

Ken Roberts, with TxDOT's Waco District Office, agrees.

"Interstate 35 is main street Texas," Roberts said. "[It's an] Economic boon from the standpoint of retail and commercial businesses that want to have access to and from the interstate."

Roberts also said I-35 construction in Central Texas will eventually be finished, although there is still a project yet to begin through Waco that isn't scheduled to start until around spring of 2019. Roberts added that to date, the estimated costs of construction on I-35 through Central Texas is estimated to be around $1.2 billion.

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