East Texas Corridor: TxDOT wants public to share I-20 ideas, concerns

Published on Saturday, 29 March 2014 23:43 - Written by Kelly Gooch kgooch@tylerpaper.com

Members of the public are invited to share ideas or challenges they have in reference to the Interstate 20 East Texas Corridor, a Texas Department of Transportation representative said.

The Texas Department of Transportation is in the process of conducting a corridor study, which includes public feedback.

According to the TxDOT website, the study’s focus is “evaluating the current safety and capacity needs along the 155-mile stretch of I-20 from Interstate-635 in Dallas to the Texas-Louisiana state line.”

“The I-20 corridor currently serves as an integral east-west connection for both travel and trade in Texas,” the website reads. “As the interstate system ages and trade increases, identifying opportunities for improvement becomes more critical. Assessing the current corridor conditions and identifying future growth potential are important to ensuring this route meets the needs of the region for decades to come.”

The study involves an advisory committee, which works with public and private stakeholders, according to the website. Smith County, the North East Texas Regional Mobility Authority, the city of Tyler, the city of Lindale and the Tyler Area Metropolitan Planning Organization are among entities represented on the advisory committee.

Caroline Love, project coordinator for the I-20 East Texas Coordinator Advisory Committee, said multiple needs have been identified on the I-20 corridor from the Louisiana-Texas state line to Dallas County — a corridor where there is significant commercial and regular traffic.

Therefore, she said, the Texas Transportation Commission believed it was a good idea to have an advisory group help guide future projects.

Ms. Love said the group is looking at what projects should be prioritized in that area, and the goal is to look at what the needs are, whether that be additional frontage roads, fixing overpasses or something else, and identify “where those hotspots are that need projects in the near term.”

She said they also are addressing mid-term and long-term project options.

At year’s end, she said, the Texas Transportation Commission will hear a presentation from the advisory committee that will help guide the commission in how it looks at future projects for that corridor.

In the meantime, Tyler City Manager Mark McDaniel said information about the study is already getting out to the public locally via the Tyler Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, and he anticipates more open houses for the public to come and give input on the study.

He said the study overall is an opportunity as Smith County to weigh in on issues such as capacity, safety, transportation, including potential rail, and economic development along the corridor.

“We need to make sure we’re voicing our concerns,” he said, adding, “The more input we have on this the better off we’re going to be.”

For more information on the I-20 East Texas Corridor Study, or to make comments, visitwww.txdot.gov/insidetxdot/projects/studies/statewide/i20-east-corridor.html .