TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - It drew negative feedback from several Tyler businesses, and now, the future of a proposed overpass in Tyler is uncertain.
Matt Denson is one of several business owners who is concerned about a plan to address traffic flow at the intersection of Old Jacksonville Highway and Loop 323. In his case, a proposed overpass could go right over his business. The Texas Department of Transportation’s existing plan calls for a grade-separated interchange in the eastbound and westbound lanes of the loop, with Old Jacksonville passing beneath the overpass.
“If they’re gonna build an overpass, no, there’s no way I’m gonna stay here,” Denson said. “I really question if its needed. I mean, there are other intersections to me in Tyler that are much more congested than the Loop and Old Jacksonville.”
Thursday afternoon, the Tyler Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Transportation Policy Committee voted unanimously to change the language in their transportation improvement program to remove the reference to the overpass, and instead include language in support of intersection improvements.
“There was a clear move away from the probability of an interchange overpass at Old Jacksonville Highway and 323. Although that remains a possibility, clearly the committee wanted to examine other alternatives,” Smith County Judge Nathaniel Moran said.
Moran is against the building of the overpass. He says it would have a negative effect on businesses that line Loop 323 and Old Jacksonville Highway − one of them being Brookshire’s Grocery headquarters.
CEO of Brookshire’s, Brad Brookshire suggested during the meeting that they would leave the area if the overpass were built.
“We’ll go someplace else that is closer to the center of our universe. Tyler, Texas and Smith County is not the center of Brookshire Grocery Company’s universe anymore,” Brookshire said.
After the vote by the committee, the Stop The Overpass Folly Coalition released this statement, saying, “We applaud TAMPO for listening and taking to heart the concerns about the adverse impact the proposed overpass would have had on so many Tyler citizens and businesses. With this decision, they chose to stand up for Tyler jobs, public safety, and our hometown economy, instead of the ill-advised proposed overpass.”
Judge Moran says although the overpass is not entirely off the table, as of right now, its future at the intersection is less likely.
“That I think was a win for those businesses because it clearly sends a signal that there is real concern about doing an overpass at the corner of Old Jacksonville Highway and 323,” Moran said.
The committee also unanimously supported widening part of old Jacksonville Highway from four lanes to six.
It’s unclear what if any future changes could be coming to the intersection of Loop 323 and Old Jacksonville Highway.