Gregg County judge discusses Highway 42 expansion

Published: Sep. 28, 2021 at 11:56 AM CDT
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GREGG COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - If you have driven Highway 42 in Gregg County, you know it can be dangerous and can test your patience if you wind up stuck behind a slow-moving vehicle.

Wel,l that is going to change. And Gregg County is helping out with nearly $3 million of funding for the project.

At times, it’s empty, but that doesn’t last long. State Highway 42 is a well-used roadway. According to the Texas Department of Public Safety there were about 450 wrecks on 42 between 2015 and 2021, about 90 a year. Gregg County Judge Bill Stoudt said it needs more lanes.

“It’s a project that we’ve had on the books for about 10 years; it’s just a matter of getting the funding in place, not just from the county level but the state level,” Stoudt said.

Stoudt says the money is in place, partly because Gregg County has:

“Put $1.4 million up and the project’s going to be about a fifty-million-dollar project,” Stoudt said.

Judge Stoudt said the county will put up another $1.4 million next year, and that the Texas Department of Transpotation is beginning the engineering and environmental work. They have created a 3D flyover showing the completed project. Judge Stoudt also pointed out the expansion of Harrison Road.

“Harrison Road which will be another four-lane, five-lane, continuous turn lane. It’ll T-bone into Highway 42, so you basically will have a very good connectivity between the entire core of Gregg County,” Stoudt said.

He said the Highway 42 widening project is on schedule.

“Some of the projects we have scheduled here in Gregg County have been delayed because of COVID. This is one project that for whatever reason has not been delayed,” Stoudt said.

Stoudt said some of 42 is not conducive to new businesses, but “There are many places, that because of the traffic flow and the safety of the traffic flow, will create economic development.”

For now, those who take 42 will have to deal with traffic, but that is supposed to change by 2024.

“It’s certainly needed, and it’s been needed for a long, long time,” Stoudt said.

The project will require acquisition of more right-of-way and will have improved grades and curves. When complete, Highway 42 will also have a continuous center lane from Highway 80 to Interstate 20.

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