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Good news: State's support of Hourglass project is positive for region

By Longview News-Journal
Dec. 28, 2011 at 11 p.m.


We were pleased by recent news that state transportation officials are continuing to support construction of roadways to ease travel in and around Longview, Marshall and Tyler.

A few weeks ago, a group of East Texas officials and community leaders visited the Texas Transportation Commission and returned with funds needed to move forward with planning of a system of roads known as the East Texas Hourglass.

The Hourglass would connect northern Longview and Marshall with Tyler's southern and western areas. It is so named because it would connect outer loops around Longview and Tyler, and when combined with Interstate 20, would look from above like an hourglass.

The resulting system of roadways would not only boost economic development within our region's major cities, but foster development of rural areas outside them.

Toll 49, which is open between Texas 155 and FM 756 south of Tyler, is a part of the project. Current construction will extend the road to Texas 110 southeast of Tyler, and to Interstate 20 near Hideaway.

Two years ago, studies determined the next logical segment of the Hourglass to be completed would be north of Interstate 20, through southeastern Upshur County and northern Gregg and Harrison counties to U.S. 59. It would cross I-20 near the Gregg-Smith county line.

Though completion of the optimistic project is still far off, the state's approval of financial support means those plans can move forward, and that is good news for East Texas.

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