East Texans may want to change their driving route - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

East Texans may want to change their driving route

Posted: Updated:
SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) -

East Texans may want to change their driving routes now that a new segment of Toll 49 is scheduled to open on Friday afternoon. 

The Texas Department of Transportation announced it would be opening Segment 3A of Toll 49 to traffic Friday afternoon, at which time motorists will be able to drive Toll 49 between SH 110 in Whitehouse to SH 31 west of Tyler in approximately15 minutes.

KLTV decided to see just how long it takes to drive the route now without using Toll 49. We took SH 110 to Loop 323 and then on to SH 31 West; the drive took about 28 minutes. 

"There's about 15 miles of roadway there, so you know, at 70 miles an hour you ought to be somewhere between twelve and fifteen minutes," said Larry Krantz with the TX-DOT. 

The 8-mile segment, which began construction in 2009, connects the former west end of Toll 49 at SH 155 in Noonday with SH 31 between Tyler and Chandler, and will be free to drive through Monday, December 3.

KLTV 7 took Chopper7 up for a sneak peak of the toll road before it opens on Friday. 

Crews were making sure everything was ready to go for the expected traffic the following day. 

"We're almost there," said TxDOT spokesman Larry Krantz. "But we wouldn't be this far along without help from our partners."

Segment 3B of Toll 49, which will connect SH 31 and IH 20, is under construction by the North East Texas Regional Mobility Authority and is scheduled to be open to traffic in 2013.

"At this point, we are really just one segment away from connecting to I-20, which has really been the goal along," Krantz said.  

For a limited time only, East Texans will have the ability to purchase a TxTAG this week at the Tyler Area Office, located at Toll 49 and SH 155. TxTAGs will be on sale between 8 a.m.-6 p.m Tuesday and Wednesday, and between 8 a.m.-noon Thursday.

TxTAGs can also be purchased by calling 1-888-Go-TxTAG or by logging on to www.txtag.org.

TxDOT opened Segment 5 of Toll 49, which runs between SH 110 and FM 756 (Paluxy Drive), in June. Segment 1 of Toll 49, which runs between SH 155 and US 69, opened in August of 2006. Segment 2, which runs between US 69 and FM 756 opened in February 2008. Segment 4 of Toll 49, also known as the Lindale Reliever Route, would connect US 69 in Lindale to IH 20. It is not currently funded for construction, but planning and environmental impact studies have been under way for several years in anticipation of funding becoming available one day.

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