Throughout the years, the Old Jacksonville Highway corridor has become a hot spot for motorists, as well as residential and commercial development.
Average daily traffic counts for Old Jacksonville Highway, south of Grande Boulevard, were 13,800 in 2007 and 20,000 for 2012 (a 45 percent increase in traffic in five years), according to the latest figures reported by the Texas Department of Transportation.
With that growth expected to continue, the Tyler Area Metropolitan Planning Organization will soon launch a study to help pinpoint potential future improvements for the corridor.
City of Tyler Planning Director Heather Nick, who serves as executive director of the Tyler Area MPO, said Old Jacksonville Highway is an important corridor for the Tyler area, as it is a primary arterial serving not only Tyler but also the communities of Flint, Gresham and Bullard.
Therefore, as that corridor continues to develop, the metropolitan planning organization wants to ensure that it identifies potential improvements and appropriate facilities for that corridor to make it work for this region and area, she said.
Ms. Nick said the study is expected to look at intersections, as well as various modes of travel, including walking and bicycling.
The proposed Old Jacksonville (Farm-to Market Road 2493) Corridor Study, which covers about 14 miles from the West Southwest Loop 323 intersection south to the intersection with U.S. Highway 69, includes data collection and analyzing things such as driveway placement, turn lanes, speed and multi-modal considerations along the corridor, according to a request for qualifications for the study.
According to the request for qualifications, the study is being done “to identify transportation improvements that reduce crashes, improve traffic flow and reduce motorist delay.”
“This study will collect sufficient information to measure and evaluate a range of viable short-term improvement concepts,” according to the request for qualifications. “This study will address cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness of various solutions (and) shall conclude with the identification of a list of recommended improvements and ways to implement them, including time frame and funding sources.”
Ms. Nick said possible projects could be recommended for the Transportation Improvement Program, a short-range plan under the parent long-range Metropolitan Transportation Plan, which is updated every five years.
Ms. Nick previously said the Transportation Improvement Program guides the Federal Highway Administration, Federal Transit Administration and the Texas Department of Transportation, as well as to local officials, as they budget for planning, design and construction of transportation and transit improvements.
The Tyler Area Metropolitan Planning Organization is currently seeking potential contractors for the study and will make a recommendation to the city council, likely in September or October.
The study is scheduled to begin in October.
Business Editor Casey Murphy contributed to this report.