WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Another major and long-planned traffic rerouting project is a step closer to starting up in Wichita Falls.

The South Wenonah Extension is the final of three projects planned in 2005 to help reroute and improve traffic flow on Lawrence Road. Wichita Falls City Councilors gave the go-ahead for the project which will extend Wenonah Boulevard through tax increment finance, or TIF zone two, from Kell East to Maplewood Avenue.

We all know how congested Lawrence Road can get. City leaders are hoping this new extension will alleviate some of that traffic, making commuting through that area a lot less stressful, while also opening a new area to development, similar to what happened with the Maplewood Extension.

After the Maplewood Extension Project was completed in 2021, and before that, the Lawrence-Rhea Road Realignment, helping with the traffic congestion on Lawrence Road, city leaders are saying it’s still not enough.

“Our council took an action in the form of a resolution to allocate the current and remaining funds from TIF Number Two for the acquisition, design, and construction of a roadway of South Wenonah Boulevard to extend from Kell potentially to Maplewood,” Wichita Falls Director of Development Services Terry Floyd said.

Floyd said not only will this new project help everyday commuters, but it could also help businesses with easier shipping and receiving.

“A lot of that congestion comes from truck traffic making deliveries for a lot of our commercial and industrial businesses in that area. So this extension of South Wenonah Boulevard will be a critical component in helping to relieve some of that traffic onto Lawrence,” Floyd said.

But it’s not going to be cheap.

In fact, when this project was first discussed back in 2005, the estimated cost for the project was roughly $907,000, but increased to $2.5 million in 2008, then $4.2 million in 2021, and now, the project is estimated to cost roughly $6 million. But Floyd said that price is subject to change.

“There’s a little piece today with an access that’s kind of on the north side of Lowe’s that you see today, but that will be the construction of that roadway extending from Kell, south to Maplewood or as far as the funds will go,” Floyd said.

Floyd said since the construction will be happening behind businesses like Lowe’s, Academy, and Quail Creek shopping center, those traveling on Lawrence shouldn’t be affected during construction.

Floyd said action was taken Tuesday because the TIF funds that began accumulating in 2005, had to be approved before the year 2025, or they would lose that funding. He said a start and completion date have yet to be set.