Texas Will Consider Existing Roads For I-69 Project

Responding to concerns that a superhighway project running from East Texas down to the Mexico border could cut through private lands, state transportation officials said Tuesday they'll only consider putting it along existing roadways.

State officials have held dozens of public meetings and received thousands of responses from the public over the proposed Interstate 69 project and the so-called Trans Texas Corridor.

Transportation officials said they would only use existing corridors, such as U.S. Highway 59 in East Texas from Texarkana to Houston and U.S. Highways 77 and 281 in South Texas, in their environmental studies for the project. And if new lanes are built, only the new ones would have tolls.

While many people said they want the project built, many others were concerned they would lose land to the superhighway system, Texas Department of Transportation Executive Director Amadea Saenz said.

The existing roads policy applies only to the I-69 project and not the I-35 corridor leg of the Trans Texas Corridor project, which is separate and under contract, Saenz said.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press.