You've been hearing about it for a long time now, and just about the time you don't want to hear anymore it's about to become very useful.
We're talking about Loop 49. Later this week another section will open up. That means you can cruise at 70 miles per hour from Highway 110 all the way to Highway 155.
Tyler is about to get smaller; well, figuratively anyway. Starting June 28 you'll be able to rocket across South Tyler. In the past if you needed to get from say, Whitehouse to somewhere on Vine Street, you were facing at least 25 minutes of stops and starts. That is about to change.
"As we're adding pieces to the puzzle it's starting to make more sense. It's starting to be more user friendly and actually take people places they need to go," said Larry Krantz of theTexas Department of Transportation.
The loop runs around eight miles from 110 to 155. At 70 miles per hour the trip will only take a little more than seven minutes. Now that trip to the Coffee City shop for some fresh-roast is much more appealing, even during lunch. Or maybe you need to rent something fast. Maybe you even push it a little and head to Bruno's on Vine Street for lunch.
"People like to shop in Tyler, and this will make it a whole lot easier, even on the days they don't come to Bruno's. They can go to downtown; they can go to the different functions in the community. And they can get there quicker with less traffic," said Jo Jean Smith of Bruno's.
Using Toll 49 is obviously not free. The shortcut will cost you a dollar each way, but many think the time savings is worth the price.
"How much is it if you take a helicopter?" I asked Larry Krantz.
"That's even faster. I imagine though that it's probably not as cost effective,"
Well he's right about that, and parking is a bit of an issue, too.
Since Toll 49 opened it has averaged around 150,000 transactions a month. That number is expected to increase when the new segment opens up.
By October TXDot expects the loop to extend to Highway 31 West in the Chandler area.