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Officials seek input on I-20 safety, fixes

By Glenn Evans
March 31, 2014 at 11 p.m.


Many people would like to see longer on and off ramps built along the East Texas portion of Interstate 20, County Judge Bill Stoudt said Monday, referencing limited responses received since mid-March to a survey about the highway.

"It's more about the ramps," Stoudt said Monday. "You've got 70 mph speed limits, and people going 70 to 75 when they get on a ramp, so there are safety factors in getting off the ramp. Those ramps weren't built for that type of speed."

Suggestions on how to improve safety and mobility along the 155-mile East Texas leg of Interstate 20 are trickling in with one month remaining for the public to add its two cents.

The I-20 East Texas Corridor Advisory Committee, comprised of 21 elected officials in the six counties from Dallas to the Louisiana state line, is asking residents to pinpoint problem areas along the 55-year-old interstate.

The comments will form the body of a study, to be completed in December, that will guide improvements to the aging interstate as traffic volume increases with anticipated growth in population and commerce.

Other potential suggestions could involve frontage roads, adding lanes to specific stretches and even passenger rail alternatives.

"We've had several (comments)," Stoudt said. "It's on our (Gregg County) web page. We've still got the whole month of April to get it done. Hopefully, we'll get more than we've got."

To that end, he said, the Longview Chamber of Commerce and the economic development corporations for Longview and Kilgore have agreed to promote the survey.

The form features a blank space for suggestions and asks for a name, email and zip code. The latter will help identify distinctive community needs along the five-county stretch.

Longview chamber Director Kelly Hall said the organization plans to have the survey available online and in hard-copy form.

"We're going to disseminate a survey next week," Hall said. "And I know that will be open for the public to take. We'll have handouts available at the front desk. What we're doing right now is looking at ways to capture public input and get the word out, so people can have the information at the front end."

The comments also can be sent directly to the Texas Department of Transportation, where regional spokesman Larry Krantz said 17 had been taken by Monday.

He declined to say what those suggestions are, out of caution for swaying future comments.

"We strongly encourage people to voice their opinion," he said.

Comments can be submitted directly to the TxDOT, at www.dot.state.tx.us/apps-cg/contact_us/form/i20contact.htm, or mailed to Stoudt at 101 E. Methvin St., Longview, TX 75601.

The county website is www.co.gregg.tx.us, and the comment form is found through the, "I ride I-20" icon in the center of the main page.

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