As consultants for the Northeast Texas Regional Mobility Authority whittle down route suggestions for Toll 49’s extension east of Tyler, one resident said he has the best solution.
At the NETRMA’s June board meeting Tuesday in Longview, Lake Tyler resident Brian Allen suggested consultants connect the toll road from Texas 110 near Whitehouse through the Chapel Hill area to Interstate 20 by using portions of four already proposed routes.
Allen formed his proposal after attending a public workshop about Segment 6 of Toll 49 last week at Chapel Hill High School. At least 270 people attended the workshop.
Consultants are planning a feasibility study in the fall and will narrow the six proposed routes down to three based on the public’s feedback.
Allen said he and other residents felt that many of the proposed routes were too far west and too close to Tyler, making Loop 323 a more competitive option. Many of the routes took Toll 49 to U.S. 271 rather than Interstate 20, which would be more attractive to Allen and other drivers, he said.
“People want to go to I-20,” Allen said later referring to the routes that consultants indicated by color. “We took the best of all the orange, blue, pink and teal colors, and we combined them to make a route that is more direct to I-20 and is more cost-effective.”
Andy Atlas, feasibility study project manager for Toll 49, said Segment 6 would grow in costs the farther east that a route is built because it would involve more miles. The westernmost route — nearest Tyler that would end at U.S. 271 near UT-Health Northeast — would be less than 11 miles, but the easternmost route that would intersect I-20 just east of U.S. 271 would traverse more than 17 miles, Atlas said.
Atlas met briefly with Allen about his idea after the meeting Tuesday at Pinecrest Country Club. A final preferred route might be selected after an environmental impact statement is completed, though that process could take more than two years.
The workshop’s maps and information also can be found at netrma.org/projects/segment-6 where people still can fill out a survey and leave comments. Submissions left by June 19 will be part of the workshop’s official record.