Open house set for today about East Texas Corridor

Published on Tuesday, 22 April 2014 10:17 - Written by By Kelly Gooch, kgooch@tylerpaper.com

The public is invited to weigh in on the Interstate 20 East Texas Corridor during an open house today.

Tyler Area Metropolitan Planning Organization Executive Director Heather Nick said the event, scheduled for 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Tyler Municipal Rose Garden Center, is a time for people to express their thoughts on things such as safety, capacity needs, overpasses and possibly adding rail at some point in the future.

She said attendees will be able to look at an analysis of the corridor and fill out comment cards.

“Getting Smith County residents’ input is critical to ensuring that the (Texas Department of Transportation’s ongoing I-20 East Texas Corridor) Study captures the concerns for our region,” Ms. Nick said in a statement.

The open house is part of public feedback associated with the study, which, according to the TxDOT website, focuses on “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 coridor serves as an integral east-west connection for both travel and trade in Texas,” according to the website. “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 the entities represented on the advisory committee.

Ms. Nick said advisory committee members were asked to reach out to their respective communities and get input, thus the open house.

“We need to make sure we’re voicing our concerns,” Tyler City Manager Mark McDaniel said last month, adding, “The more input we have on this, the better off we’re going to be.”

At year’s end, the Texas Transportation Commission will hear a presentation from the advisory committee that will help guide the Texas Transportation Commission in how it looks at future projects for that corridor, Caroline Love, project coordinator for the I- 20 East Texas Coordinator Advisory Committee, said in a previous interview.

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