Of­fi­cials hear up­dates on area trans­porta­tion, road projects

I-30 widen­ing, I-69 study among items dis­cussed

Texarkana Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - By Karl Richter

Of­fi­cials from both Texarkanas heard an up­date on var­i­ous trans­porta­tion projects from lo­cal, re­gional and state ex­perts on Tues­day.

Widen­ing In­ter­state 30 west of town, con­struct­ing part of the In­ter­state 69 cor­ri­dor be­tween Texarkana and Queen City, Texas, and resur­fac­ing State Line Av­enue all came up dur­ing the quar­terly meet­ing of the Joint Texarkana Com­mu­nity Com­mit­tee, which fo­cused on trans­porta­tion.

Glenn Green of Texas De­part­ment of Trans­porta­tion ran down a list of planned and started high­way con­struc­tion projects, in­clud­ing a funded plan to widen I-30 to six lanes and build frontage roads, en­trance and exit ramps, and turn­arounds be­tween North Kings High­way and Old Redlick Road.

Green also an­nounced that build­ing I-69 south­ward from Texarkana is “in the project de­vel­op­ment fun­nel,” not yet funded but be­gin­ning to be stud­ied.

“If you’ve heard about 369 or the I-69 cor­ri­dor, you know TxDOT has de­vel­oped it from each end, from the south and from the north. We here in Texarkana are con­sid­ered the north book­end. And so we are start­ing. … We have a study that has been ini­ti­ated last month that will look at the I-69 cor­ri­dor from this point to Queen City. We’ll be tak­ing pub­lic in­put and es­tab­lish­ing the I-69 cor­ri­dor through our pub­lic in­volve­ment process and en­vi­ron­men­tal process. That gets this project un­der de­vel­op­ment,” he said.

That sec­tion of the in­ter­state prob­a­bly would fol­low U.S. High­way 59 but could de­vi­ate from that route, Green said. Any sec­tions of U.S. 59 used would

be up­graded to in­ter­state high­way con­struc­tion stan­dards if nec­es­sary.

Other ma­jor high­way projects soon to be un­der­taken by TxDOT in­clude widen­ing North Kings High­way to four lanes be­tween I-30 and Nash, and widen­ing U.S. High­way 82 to four lanes from North Kings High­way to west of I-369.

Steve Fris­bee of Arkansas De­part­ment of Trans­porta­tion up­dated the panel on var­i­ous projects such as I-30 con­struc­tion within 50 miles of Texarkana, which he said would be wrap­ping up soon, in its end stage shift­ing to night-only work to min­i­mize traf­fic prob­lems.

Plans are in the works to resur­face State Line Av­enue, Fris­bee said.

“The fund­ing pot is there for the Arkansas side. It’s not to go in and cre­ate a brand new sec­tion of pave­ment but to re­hab what we have. … I know there’s been re­quests from the cities and oth­ers about do­ing things like streetscapes, and th­ese are all good things. But the de­part­ment, we just can’t fund those types of things. … But for us the good news is that we do have the fund­ing to go in and re­hab State Line, and we’re go­ing to work with TxDOT. Again, we’re still in the early stages of that,” Fris­bee said.

Other pre­sen­ters dur­ing the meet­ing in­cluded Rea Donna Jones of the Metropoli­tan Plan­ning Or­ga­ni­za­tion, Chris Brown of the Co sun­cil of Gov­ern­ments, Arkansas-side Pub­lic Works Di­rec­tor Jeff Whit­ten and Texas-side Pub­lic Works Di­rec­tor Dustin Henslee.

An ini­tia­tive of the Texarkana USA Cham­ber of Com­merce, the JTCC com­prises Texas-side City Coun­cil mem­bers, Arkansas-side Board of Di­rec­tors mem­bers and both may­ors. It formed last fall to share ideas and dis­cuss com­mon chal­lenges fac­ing both cities but is not set up to take any ac­tion.

Arkansas-side Mayor Ruth Pen­ney-Bell and Ward 6 Di­rec­tor Terri Peavey, and Texas-side Mayor Bob Brugge­man and Ward 6 Coun­cil Mem­ber Josh Davis at­tended Tues­day’s meet­ing.

On Twit­ter: @RealKar­lRichter

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