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Monday, October 31, 2011

Texas Introduces Interstate 69. No Joke.


I-69 signs to go up in South Texas


Well it's official. Texas has a new Interstate highway.
Texas transportation commissioners voted minutes ago to begin erecting Interstate 69 signs on a 6.2-mile stretch of U.S. 77 between Interstate 37 and State Highway 44 in Nueces County in South Texas near the Gulf of Mexico . The Texas segment of the 1,000-mile interstate is expected to eventually stretch from Texarkana to the border.

Polk County Judge Judge John Thompson, chairman of the Alliance for I-69, hailed the decision in a press release issued by TxDOT.

"It's a visible sign of the progress being made on I-69," Thompson said. "This is the result of the strong partnership between the Alliance for I-69 Texas, TxDOT, the I-69 Segment Committees, the I-69 Advisory Committee and the many elected officials and community leaders along the I-69 route in Texas that have remained committed to and focused on the development of the system."

The I-69 corridor, which TxDOT began upgrading in 2008 to meet federal interstate standards, was once part of the Trans Texas Corridor, and some elements of that project are still alive in the toll projects that the state and developers are hoping will fast-track the building of the free lanes on the highways.

The statement by TxDOT notes that the department is also asking the FHWA for approval to add completed sections of US 59 in the Houston metropolitan area to the Interstate Highway System as I-69.

Phil Wilson, in his first month as executive director at TxDOT, said bringing the interstate system to south Texas is vital.

"Access to an interstate is an important driver of economic development activity, so this effort is of particular importance to South Texas communities and businesses," said Phil Wilson, TxDOT executive director. "It's not every day that a transportation department gets to add a new interstate to the books, and it's thanks to the collaborative relationship between TxDOT, local stakeholders and planning groups, and elected officials that we can make this happen."


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