Gregg County judge discusses delayed road projects

Published: Oct. 4, 2021 at 3:02 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 4, 2021 at 6:55 PM CDT
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GREGG COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - The roads, they are a-changing, but maybe not as quickly as originally scheduled.

There are 29 Texas Department of Transportation projects that are slated for Gregg County, but according to Gregg County Judge Bill Stoudt, they are running behind on most of them.

“They were scheduled to begin in ‘20 and in ‘21 but have been delayed until ‘23 and ‘24, and some in ‘22, because of COVID. And these are mostly some of the major projects TXDOT has planned for all the region,” Stoudt said.

According to TXDOT, several projects are in progress in Gregg County like Highway 80 medians in East Longview, and expansion on FM 2206 and FM 2204.

“There are a number of projects that have been on the books for years that were getting delayed because of funding. Then when funding was approved and in place and the engineering has been done, then they got ready to start and then COVID hit; boom,” Stoudt said.

TXDOT records show the most expensive project that will soon be underway is widening eight miles of I-20 just west of Longview, improving exit interchange. That one has a $150 million price tag and is slated to be complete in June 2025.

The widening of Highway 42 from I-20 to Highway 80 at $46 million is the second-most expensive project, and it is scheduled for completion in April 2024.

The third most costly is Highway 271 widening from the Smith County Line to Loop 485 in Gladewater at $22.7 million. It should be complete by April 2023.

The next most expensive is Highway 80 from the Upshur County line east to 271. It will be widened from two or four lanes to four lanes, with a turn lane, at a cost of $20 million by around August of 2030.

But these projects haven’t started yet.

“The number of things that COVID has affected is monumental,” Stoudt said.

According to TXDOT, the total cost of all 29 projects is $442 million, but that’s only Gregg County.

“The interconnectivity of the roadway system throughout the region people are going to be able to notice. They probably won’t be able to drive from point A to Point B without noticing there’s been a lot of work done,” Stoudt said.

All of it coming just around the corner.

There are five more projects that have not yet been funded. The estimated total on those is $421 million. That includes widening of I-20 from four to six lanes through Gregg County.

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