Business owner launches sign campaign opposing 'relief route' - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Lindale business owner launches sign campaign opposing 'relief route'


Opposition is growing regarding an already controversial roadway in East Texas.

Signs have been popping up in sections of downtown Lindale and Interstate 20 asking people to say 'no' to the Toll 49 Relief Route.

That route would take Toll 49 from its current end at Interstate 20 and run the toll road north of the City of Lindale.

Latif Mehdizadeh, owner of Latif's Antiques in Lindale, started putting the signs on his properties a few weeks ago in hopes of saving his business. He said expansion on Toll 49 is drawing visitors away from his shops along the interstate and in downtown.

"They have already done from Tyler to I-20 and that has cost me a lot of customers I used to get," Mehdizadeh said. "I have to stand up on my ground and tell what I believe in."

Lindale Mayor Robert Nelson said he does not believe the toll road will have a significant impact on small businesses in the city and said he sees the toll road as a new route for truck drivers to avoid the city.

He said with the existing Target distribution facility and the FedEx Ground distribution facility expected to come online sometime over the summer, truck traffic will be an issue for the city.

"Truckers is one of my concerns," Nelson said. "They're taking that route because they want to get around; they want to avoid the congestion in Lindale."

Nelson said the toll road has been in the works for several years and there have been several hearings and meetings for the public to provide their input.

Mehdizadeh said he hopes to address the city council soon to let his voice be heard and he hopes others will join in his effort.

"If other merchants stand up like I'm doing, this thing maybe would not happen," he said.

The Toll 49 Lindale Relief Route is still in the environmental phase of the project. Maps from the Northeast Texas Regional Mobility Authority show exchanges will be at Interstate 20, Farm to Market Road 16 and U.S. Hwy. 69 to allow people to reach different parts of Lindale.

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