No intersection improvements at Old Jacksonville Hwy and Loop 323

Published: Jun. 17, 2021 at 5:53 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 18, 2021 at 4:29 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - On Thursday, the Tyler Metropolitan Planning Organization considered intersection improvements at Old Jacksonville Hwy and Loop 323 to help alleviate the heavy traffic.

The proposed plan to create an overpass and other proposed improvements at this intersection was voted down by the council in a 5-4 vote. Many in the organization feared that the proposed overpass would negatively impact near by businesses.

“It is a broader project, it is a broader scope, I just don’t think this is a time to jeopardize 30 businesses that are in that area that after COVID and everything else have struggled to survive,” said mayor Don Warren who was a part of the organization.

According to Vernon Webb, a Tyler District Engineer from the Texas Department of Transportation, Thursday’s decision would make improving traffic flow for that intersection very difficult.

“Any improvements we will be looking at now will have to be on Old Jacksonville only it is going to be very difficult for us to make turn lane improvements for example, things like that on the loop that would help the flow of traffic,” said Webb.

With no scheduled improvements on the way for that intersection, Webb says that area of traffic flow will continue to be below average.

“The level of service will remain an F by the studies done by the previous corridor study through the MPO and by the consults that we have on board, so it will be very difficult to improve the level of service there at the loop,” said Webb.

But many in the organization believed the proposed plan didn’t prioritize accessibility enough for them to move forward. Business owners were concerned about accessibility and visibility problems that they say a potential overpass could cause.

“Say you are going to Cavender’s and you are going over the overpass can you get away from the overpass in time to exit and get into Cavender’s or are you going to have to do a U-turn, how are you going to get there,” said Warren.

The organization and TXDOT will continue to explore the idea of expanding parts of Old Jacksonville Hwy separate from Loop 323.

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