Bridge widening project coming to Highway 21 in Madisonville

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MADISONVILLE, Tex. (KBTX) - Drivers heading through Madisonville will see big changes in the coming months.

The Highway 21 bridge over I-45 sees lots of traffic during the work week and also weekends. There can be congestion there many times of the day with people visiting Buc-ee's and other nearby businesses.

TxDOT said 6,066 vehicles drive the Highway 21 bridge over I-45 daily.

The highway department is planning to widen the bridge starting in January as part of a $4 million improvement project.

Crews will add a new driving lane eastbound, turn lanes westbound and add sidewalks which have ADA accessibility.

"Buc-ee's is just so busy all the time. It's full of cars so I definitely think it's a good idea for them to expand that bridge," said Jose Juarez, who lives nearby in Leona. He drives to Madisonville each day for work.

"Just because the fact that there's too much traffic. There's too many cars for that narrow space and I think expanding it would definitely make everybody's route a lot better. It would make everybody's commute time maybe a little bit shorter. It's definitely a great idea," he said.

"It's not only Buc-ee's but it's the crossroads of 21. It's 75 and 45 is traffic congestion so Buc-ee's helps on it but normal traffic is pretty heavy here now," said Madisonville Mayor Bill Parten.

He said it's not the only transportation project coming here. TxDOT also wants to build a bypass around 21.

"It'd be a loop around the southern part of Madisonville. It will go out and pickup Highway 90 the traffic off of the trucks on it, Highway 75, 45, then come back into 21 about a mile and a half east of downtown Madisonville," said Parten.

"There's a lot of things coming up," he said.

Lots of changes drivers believe are needed.

"I'm just looking forward to the new improvements," said Juarez.

This area is a very busy corridor for Aggie football games as well.

TxDOT said the new bridge should be ready by August in time for football season.

Next week TxDOT is hosting a public meeting to talk about the new relief route for Highway 21.

It's happening next Tuesday, November 12 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Truman Kimbro Convention Center on the Square. It will be an open house format. That address is 111 West Trinity Street in Madisonville.