February 28, 2009

Local input received on area mobility plan


Trinity Standard
Copyright 2009

TRINITY – A handful of suggestions for changes and additions to the local highway system were presented last week during the first of three public forums hosted by the Trinity-Neches Texas Sub-Regional Planning Commission (TNT).

Additional traffic control lights and an overpass were the needs listed by the public during the meeting regarding a draft transportation study being prepared by TNT.

During the meeting, TNT Member-at-large Connie Fogle explained that the study was being developed as a means of countering what the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) formerly called the Trans-Texas Corridor (TTC).

“State law says TxDOT’s plan must be compatible with our plan,” Fogle said. “That’s why were here today. We want to draft a mobility plan for the Trinity, Groveton and Corrigan areas and we want the public’s input.”

Fogle noted the TNT was organized last year as a means of fighting TxDOT’s plans to route the massive TTC highway system through Trinity County. By drafting a mobility plan for the area that does not include the proposed new highway route, she indicated TNT would have additional ammunition in their battle.

Fogle told the group of about a dozen audience members that while the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has agreed that the name “Trans-Texas Corridor” is dead, the proposed route through Trinity County is not.

It was noted that in TxDOT officials have agreed to “use existing highway right-of-ways” such as U.S. 59 through East Texas for the proposed I-69 connecting Mexico to Canada, new right-of-way through Trinity County is still included in TxDOT Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) that it plans to submit to the Federal Highway Administration.

“The public didn’t like the name Trans-Texas Corridor, so (TxDOT) changed its name; and the public didn’t like the 1,200-foot-wide footprint, so they decided to narrow it where they can, but they’re still sending in the environmental impact statement as is,” Fogle said.

It was noted that some TxDOT officials now refer to the route through Trinity County as “I-69 Alt.” or alternate Interstate 69.

Fogle said the TNT will continue to work to halt the TTC and I-69 Alt. route and was seeking suggestions for things to include in the transportation plan they are now preparing.

“This is a work in progress. We will be taking suggestions tonight and at public forums planned in Groveton and Corrigan. We also will be taking written suggestions,” she added.

Among the suggestions presented during the Feb. 19 meeting, was the installation of a traffic control light on Highway 19 in front of the Trinity Brookshire Brothers grocery store.

Trinity Mayor Lyle Stubbs noted the city has been asking TxDOT for years for such a light but has always been turned down.

“They’ve got the traffic data and information on the number of accidents that have occurred there, but we still don’t have a light,” he said.

Stubbs also noted that in the past the city has asked TxDOT to put in an overpass to allow traffic on Highway 94 to cross the railroad tracks.

Stubbs, who also is a member of the Trinity Volunteer Fire Department, noted there have been incidents in the past where a train passing through the city has prevented firefighters from responded to building and other fires.

He noted that to help solve this problem, TVFD not has fire-fighting equipment on both sides of the tracks.

However, since most firefighters work on the west side of the tracks during the day, there are times where not enough manpower can get to a fire when the tracks are blocked.

“We’re probably too small to get (an overpass) but it won’t hurt to ask,” Stubbs said.
Dee Dee King of the Saron Community near Trinity suggested a caution light be placed at the intersection of Highway 94 and FM 3188 northeast of Trinity.

“It’s a dangerous place and we need at lease a flashing light there to warn people,” King said.

Fogle noted that the second public forum was held in Corrigan on Tuesday, Feb. 24, and the third and final meeting was set for 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 26, at the Groveton City Hall, 115 W. Front Street.

She noted the Groveton meeting had originally been set for Feb. 17 but was rescheduled due to a conflict with a girls’ basketball playoff game.

Copies of the draft mobility plans are available at the Trinity, Groveton and Corrigan city halls. Written comments will be accepted through May 20.

After comments have been received, TNT will finalize the plan and publish notices in local newspapers. Copies of the final plan will be available at the city halls for public review.

Following a 30-day comment period on the final plan, the TNT will give their final approval and deliver it to state, federal and regional transportation agencies as well as to the governor’s office.

© 2009 Trinity Standard: www.easttexasnews.com

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