LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - The last phase of George Richey Road in Longview is complete, and with it, a new corridor from east to west in north Longview is available to drivers.
Getting to the other side of Longview has always been a bit time-consuming, especially with traffic. Shawn Hara with the City of Longview says it's been a long time in the making.
"This is a project that's been in the works for many, many years, but really it could have been many more years if not for the partnerships that took place," Hara explained.
Gregg County, LEDCO and TxDOT teamed with the city to make it happen. And it was well thought out. It's four lanes with a turn lane the entire length, but wait, there's more!
"It's one of the first new road developments in Longview to have sidewalks and bike lanes to be developed," Hara said.
Red Bush lives in north Longview and is happy to take advantage of the bike lanes. He was using Hawkins Parkway which also goes from Gilmer Road to Highway 259, but that route is not ideal.
"Pretty rough in the afternoons with traffic, and in the mornings with traffic; real, real thick," Bush said.
There are no bike lanes on Hawkins.
Paige Childers lives near George Richey and has an affinity for the sidewalk.
"You're out of the way of the traffic. It's more convenient. It is your place to run and the cars aren't close to you," Childers observed.
And actually she's glad vehicles are now on the road, since she's been using the sidewalk for a while now.
"Now that there's a lot of cars up and down it, it seems to be safer," Childers said.
And she says it's a much faster drive than Hawkins. But how much faster? I drove from Highway 259 to Gilmer Road. It was smooth sailing on the new asphalt. The fifty mile an hour speed limit is nice, too. There's one light and one school zone.
From 259 Hawkins Parkway is a different story. There's only one school zone there too, but there are five lights and speed limits from 35 to 45 by the time you hit Gilmer Road.
So the verdict?
George Richey took five minutes and twenty five seconds versus nine minutes and thirty-six seconds on Hawkins. So George Richey is four minutes and eleven seconds faster than Hawkins Parkway.
I wonder how long it takes to walk it? I'll have to get back to you on that one.
Shawn Hara also says George Richey opens up opportunity for nodal development, that is, part of it can be residential and some can be commercial.