• $153 Million in New Funding Approved for I-69 Projects
The Transportation Commission has allocated an additional $153 million for 10 upgrade projects along the I-69 routes in East Texas and South Texas.
In letters and contacts, the Alliance for I-69 Texas had strongly encouraged the Commission to included upgrade projects in every portion of the I-69 routes in their latest funding allocations.
The projects are among dozens selected for part of approximately $1.9 billion allocated across the state. The funding comes from Texas Mobility Fund bond proceeds, anticipated federal funding and savings on previous projects that are being built at lower cost than originally estimated.
The Commission was approving a revised version of the 2012 Unified Transportation Program which identifies the work to be scheduled over the coming few years.
> JIM WELLS COUNTY - The nine I-69 projects include $41 million for a new US 281 relief route at Premont in southern Jim Wells County. This location is south of Alice and will mean the elimination of one of the last traffic stops in the 150 miles of US 281 between the Rio Grande Valley and the connection with Interstate 37.
> VICTORIA COUNTY - An $11.6 million safety project on US 59 in Victoria will eliminate dangerous crossovers and better serve the new 1 million square foot Caterpillar excavator assembly plant there. This 4-mile section of highway is lined with oilfield service companies and trucking operations, all with large vehicles that must turn into existing traffic.
> NUECES/KLEBERG - The project list also includes the previously announced $60 million design-build project to upgrade 10 miles of US 77 to interstate standard west of Corpus Christi and connecting to existing freeway lanes in Kingsville.
Here are the other I-69 projects marked for funding by the Commission:
> WEBB COUNTY - $9 million to construct an overpass on Loop 20 at McPherson Road on the north side of Laredo, a location one mile east of Interstate 35. Loop 20 is the final leg of I-69 connecting to Interstate 35 and Webb County international border crossings.
> LIBERTY COUNTY - $6 million to upgrade US 59 to freeway standard just south of Cleveland in Liberty County.
> POLK COUNTY - $5 million for environmental and route planning on US 59 at Corrigan in Polk County.
>WHARTON/FORT BEND - $6 million for priority project development services to plan projects on US 59 in Fort Bend and Wharton Counties.
> BOWIE COUNTY - $2 million for intersection reconstruction on US 59 at FM 989 on the southwest side of Texarkana in Bowie County.
> ANGELINA/NACOGDOCHES - $6 million in Angelina County and $6 million in Nacogdoches County to conduct the necessary environmental review and right of way identification for building I-69 upgrade projects in the vicinity of Lufkin and Nacogdoches.
In developing the UTP allocations TxDOT partnered with Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs), regional transportation organizations, and districts to identify projects that focus on safety, congestion, maintenance, and statewide connectivity.
Improvement projects were recommended by the citizen planners on the I-69 segment committees.
UNIQUE FUNDING OPPORTUNITY
"This is a unique position for the state to be in with these funds becoming available," said Texas Transportation Commission Chairman Ted Houghton. "We want to make the best use of them by partnering with local communities to insure this funding is applied where they feel it is most needed."
"The state will be greatly impacted by the work added because of this funding," added Bill Meadows, a Texas Transportation Commission member from Fort Worth. "Continual work with our partners around the state brings solutions like this that provide needed improvements to the transportation infrastructure."
"The state's transportation challenges remain great" said Phil Wilson, TxDOT executive director. "But statewide efforts like this help us address them every time we make forward progress such as this."
Initially, $2 billion was identified in additional funding. The remaining $100 million is still unallocated pending continued work by TxDOT, MPOs and local stakeholders to finalize recommendations on the remaining funding needs.
On July 6th TxDOT held public announcement ceremonies in Corrigan and Victoria to celebrate the funding of I-69 projects in those areas. Commissioner Jeff Austin III was on hand to lead each of the announcement events.