• State Approves $89.8 Million for I-69 Route Upgrades
The Texas Transportation Commission has approved distribution of $3 billion in Proposition 12 bond funding including $89.8 million for projects on the highway routes being upgraded to become Interstate 69.
Following instructions from the Texas Legislature, the commission’s action will distribute $1.4 billion to TxDOT’s 25 districts and $600 million to the 25 Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) around the state according to existing formulas; as well as $200 million for statewide highway connectivity improvements; $500 million for bridges; and provide $300 million to begin developing projects to mitigate congestion in the Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin and San Antonio areas.
These funds represent the balance of $5 billion in general obligation bonding authority approved by voters and first authorized by the Texas Legislature in 2007. Construction contracts for the first $2 billion in projects were approved in 2010.
US 77 PROJECTS - Two I-69 projects are located at Robstown including $13.6 million to build main freeway lanes on US 77 just south of State Highway 44. The second will be construction of 6.4 miles of freeway on US 77 from just south of Robstown to a point north of Driscoll. That project is estimated at $32 million.
Two projects totaling $14.3 million were approved on US 77 at Sarita in Kenedy County. A new overpass will be built and a portion of the highway will be converted to a full controlled access freeway.
Three I-69 projects were approved for the Rio Grande Valley. On US 77 this includes $2.0 million to extend the freeway lanes a total of five miles from Raymondville to the Willacy County Line and $3.9 million to make frontage road improvements in north of Harlingen in Cameron County.
US 281 PROJECTS - Another $13.2 million was approved to extend the US 281 freeway by approximately five miles north of Edinburg to a point near the Edinburg Airport.
US 59 PROJECTS - In East Texas, the list of funded Proposition 12 projects include a two mile stretch of future I-69 freeway just south of Shepherd in San Jacinto County on US 59. This will include an overpass at FM 2914.
In Cass County, $338,900 was approved to construct turn lanes on US 59 at Emma Lena Way. An $180,000 project to widen US 59 at State Highway 49 in Marion County was approved.
Construction contracts for these i-69 route projects funded from Proposition 12 will move forward in the summers of 2012 and 2013.
TxDOT worked in partnership with MPOs, cities, counties and corridor associations to identify and prioritize needs that could be funded under Prop. 12. TxDOT held meetings with stakeholders and conducted public hearings, including the department’s first statewide hearing via video teleconference. Much of this intensive public involvement effort was conducted and completed in just four months.
John Thompson, chairman of the Alliance for I-69 Texas and county judge of Polk County, said, "The Legislature made the hard decision this year to invest some of the state’s limited dollars in highways. The Alliance supported that action and we appreciate the Texas Transportation Commission’s commitment to continuing the process of upgrading US 59, US 77 and US 281 to interstate highway standard. Communities all along these routes have been working a long time to see Interstate 69 become a reality and we are several steps closer today thanks to the approval of these projects.”
John Barton, TxDOT interim executive director, said the Proposition 12 projects will help to address the greatest needs for mobility, rehabilitation and safety on Texas highways. “We intend to deliver impressive results," he said.