Public Meeting Answers Questions About Loop 49 - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

10/7/04-Smith County

Public Meeting Answers Questions About Loop 49

Less traffic and a quicker completion to Loop 49. That's what Texas Department of Transportation officials say could come out of a toll they're proposing for the Loop. They say, with the toll, the Loop could be finished 20 years faster. At a hearing tonight, officials said it won't be your typical coin and dollar toll booth.

"You would be responsible for purchasing a toll tag at a nominal fee and then purchasing and opening an account on that tag, so you could go on that without any stops, any inconveniences, or any fees to interrupt the flow of traffic," says Mary Owens, District Engineer of TX-DOT.

It would cost you about a dollar to travel the entire Loop. Those who came out to hear the proposal, almost 100, had mixed emotions about it.

"I'd like to use the new loop, but if I'm going to have to pay everyday to go back and forth where I need to go, that's a lot of money and with us paying for these roads.  I would think we would have the option to go on them anyway," says Lynn Hamilton, a Bullard resident who was planning to use the loop.

"Just had one gentleman say it's estimated it would save 30 minutes traveling from the southern part of the Loop. And a dollar to save 30 minutes of drive time, that's an easy decision for me," says Gary Halbrooks, a Tyler resident who is in support of the toll for Loop 49.

No public comment was allowed at tonight's meeting. However, TX-DOT officials say there will be time for it at the next meeting, which will be held sometime next month.

Reporting: Braid Sharp bsharp@kltv.com

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