January 22, 2009

New Alternative to TTC Announced

By: Coleman Swierc

TRINITY, TX - Just weeks ago, the Trans-Texas Corridor plans were dissolved by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT).

Today in Trinity, alternative plans were revealed. "They are going to pursue in writing, with the Federal Highway Commission, the upgrade of 59 to I-69," said Bob Dockens, President of the Trinity-Neches Sub-Regional Planning Commission, "and are going to, according to their statement today, abandon what was called the preferred corridor, the one that ran west of Houston and came through Trinity county."

In essence, the proposed Trans-Texas Corridor, was originally to run as a connector from I-10 west of Houston, through much of Walker, Trinity, and parts of Angelina county, was eliminated.

Now, TxDOT, is proposing the upgrade of U.S. Highway 59, to the new, Interstate 69.
"We are not going to recommend the study area that was in this area," said TxDOT representative Doug Booher, "we are going to recommend to the federal highway administration that the study area for I-69 be U.S. 59."

With the new proposal to upgrade 59, new environmental issues have come up.
Members of the Trinity-Neches Texas Sub-Regional Planning Commission questioned members of TxDOT, on their initial enviromental proposal, claiming crutial historical sites were overlooked.

TxDOT defended thier proposal, stating that the initial tier 1 analysis of the study area, was taken on a very broad range.

"The original study, was at a very high phase, and although it did consider those things, it did not drill down into the very high level of detail we would do if the project would continue into the second phase," said Booher.

They also assured the commission, that pending approval of the 59 upgrade, that TxDOT would consider environmental issues in much greater detail.

Booher reiterated, "If the project were to proceed, we would take into consideration all of the specific individual concerns, such as cemetaries, historic buildings, archealogical resources, wetlands, all manner of things."

Dockens and the committee seemed to agree, "I was very satisfied with the answers that Mr. Booher gave us today."

According to TxDOT, an announcement on the new environmental issues and upgrade possibilites to 59, will be announced in the following months.

© 2008 KTRE-TV: www.ktre.com

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