Officials hear updates on area transportation, road projects
I-30 widening, I-69 study among items discussed
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.
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