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I-369 project in Marshall ranked high in priority for $154 million TxDOT funding

TxDOT’s generous $154 million funding commitment to the Marshall relief route of the proposed I-369/I-69 project shows just how significant the need for the route in the area is, Harrison County Judge Hugh Taylor said Saturday.

“The transportation commission and the TxDOT staff should be commended for their vision and the development of this nationwide freight corridor,” Taylor said.

“The Marshall piece that received funding commitment for construction in the 10-year UTP (Unified Transportation Program) ranked highest when scored with objective data during a two-year exercise at the advisory committee,” he noted.

 

The Texas Transportation Commission approved adding a loop extension in Marshall to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) Unified Transportation Program (UTP) during its August meeting. The project will be part of the future I-369 route and extend the current loop from where it ends at US Highway 80 to Interstate 20 southeast of Marshall.

The cost of the project from US 80 to I-20 is estimated to be around $154 million, TxDOT officials advised.

“Out of all projects, stretching from the Valley up (US Highway) 59 all the way up to Texarkana of the future I-69 system, it ranked higher than any other project that had not yet received the commitment on the UTP,” Taylor explained.

“It didn’t rank highest by a little bit. It outranked the next highest project by 30 percent,” he pointed out.

Data used to develop the ranking included crash data, fatality, congestion, connectivity and safety.

The funding commitment from TxDOT comes just within a few weeks of the county’s $150,000 grant award from the North East Texas Regional Mobility Authority (NET RMA) to assist with the construction of the proposed US 59/I-369/I-69 relief route through Marshall. Taylor said officials are extremely pleased about the outpour of support for the project.

“The future impact of the corridor across the state will be significant,” the county judge said. “I-69 delivers to Texas. It will deliver and pay back the investment when it’s complete.

“It’s very exciting to see the development in the very near future,” he added. “There will be a completed interstate highway from Cleveland, Texas south through Houston all the way to Wharton, Texas.

He noted that other parts — up and down the corridor — are being completed now in segments.

 

“For instance, the Lufkin and Diboll and Corrigan pieces along with part of the Nacogdoches piece have been included in the UTP (Unified Transportation Program), in the past,” Taylor said.

He said the I-369 project is an ongoing process, which received a big push, early on, with TxDOT’s $2 million commitment to the environmental and schematic design process that is almost complete.

“It’s been ongoing for several years on it and it will continue to go through the process and stages until final construction,” Taylor said of the project.

TxDOT officials explained that the UTP is a 10-year statewide plan for transportation project development. The project selection process is approved annually and describes the funding categories and process for selecting future projects.

“Once completed, the I-369 route around Marshall will improve mobility, freight movement efficiency and safety,” said Deanne Simmons, Director of Transportation Planning and Development for TxDOT in Atlanta. “Controlled-access interstate highways, like Interstate 20 in this area, provide major safety improvements over other roads with fewer fatal crashes than non-freeway roads.”

Marcus Sandifer, spokesperson for TxDOT’s Atlanta District, noted that Harrison County’s future I-369 projects will relieve traffic congestion through Marshall, improve safety and mobility, and provide for future traffic and freight needs and support economic development.

 

Source:  Marshall News Messenger