East Texas Celebrates Loop 49 Grand Opening - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

8/19/06-Tyler

East Texas Celebrates Loop 49 Grand Opening

For more than 30 years, East Texas has talked about a road that would cut down on traffic congestion and make it easier for people to travel. Today, community leaders celebrated the grand opening of Loop 49's first segment.   The section connects US Highway 69 and Highway 155 South. It's a toll road that will eventually extend to Interstate 20 and then over to Longview.   

Saturday, state, local and city officials came together, along with hundreds of families to celebrate years of hard work.  "We're really excited," said  North East Texas Regional Mobility Authority Chairman Jeff Austin III. "There is a lot of curiosity you know, what will the road look like and what will it look like in the future."

Through surveys, the city of Tyler has learned the citizens' number one concern is traffic. That's why community leaders say they have pushed so hard for Loop 49.  "We have a serious issue to deal with, but this will help alleviate some of the congestion on Loop 323 and eventually will provide another route to I-20," said Tyler Mayor Joey Seeber.

With a parade, food and games, today's grand opening celebration was enjoyed by many.   The turnout, officials say proves how important the road is to East Texans.  "It's a great day to celebrate what can happen when a community comes together," said Texas Department of Transportation Commissioner Hope Andrade. "We decided to come together and take advantage of the tolling, which is an option you can do and get a project done sooner and you did it."

You can't drive on Loop 49 just yet. It opens to the public Tuesday, but tolling will not begin until November.

Molly Reuter, Reporting. mreuter@kltv.com

 

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