City of Tyler MPO approves Waljim Street extension, says it will discuss further plans with residents

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Published: Mar. 24, 2022 at 6:49 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - It’s been a continued controversy for Tyler residents: The city’s plans for a major road expansion. On Thursday, the City of Tyler’s MPO committee approved a change to its master street plan regarding the Waljim Street extension.

The conceptual plan has had businesses, a church and neighboring citizens speaking up with concerns.

The now-approved change will extend Waljim Street in South Tyler, connecting Market Square Blvd. and West Grande Blvd. According to MPO Manager Michael Howell, there is still a lot of flexibility with the conceptual plan they have put out. The lines that were shown Thursday will likely be changed by the time the project gets to the engineering phase.

“The biggest thing that the master street plan is getting at is making sure there are connections from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’ but there is a lot of flexibility that is allotted to develop it, as the actual engineering is done during the process,” Howell said.

Tyler residents and business owners filled the city council chambers Thursday afternoon to provide their comments and input.

“Nobody has been out here to look at this land. Y’all need to come out and look at what you’re going to do to us. It’s brutal,” one man said.

Many of the concerns came from people living at condos near Walmart and Target. One woman said the current line drawn would impact 72 residential units.

“If our property is taken from us, from the Courtyard Condo west side, over on the Holly View side, you’re going to be creating such a safety drainage, all kinds of engineering hazards right there for another intersection,” one woman said.

MPO shared their public input summary from March 8 until now, made up of online responses, letters, and emails. Of that, four people generally support the change, six generally oppose it, 15 people at Dayspring had feedback, 8 people at Courtyard Condos had feedback, and one person at Crooked Trail had feedback.

Another man brought up that on the current route drawn there is an active oil and gas well.

“I just want to make sure that Richie Properties’ main objection is noted that we’re resisting an expansion of the road going through an active oil and gas well that is possible,” he said.

One group that was there with gratitude was clergy and members of Dayspring Church. They were concerned the lines from the March 8th meeting would put the street right through their outdoor worship area.

Wednesday evening, the church’s team met with six city officials. They were able to reach an agreement with Mayor Don Warren and Tyler City Manager Ed Broussard to have an updated route be considered.

The church said the seemingly small change alleviated some of their primary concerns around safety and their sacred spaces.

This left other residents with concerns that the new shift will impact their land or space.

Overall the committee heard the concerns and took notes, ultimately deciding to approve the amendment and continue having conversations with impacted residents to come up with a better plan.

Thursday afternoon the city’s role was to listen and take comments into consideration, they did not respond to specific public comments.

Next, the city will still have to adopt the master street plan as its guide, and that is tentatively set for a meeting in May. The city plans to hold open houses to keep the conversation going around the proposed route.

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