LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – Plans to upgrade U.S. 59 where it intersects with Nacogdoches Loop 224 are gaining traction. The proposed two-phased project targets safety and traffic congestion.
"The project is going to solve a problem we've had for years and that is the flow of traffic coming from the south through the town or people want to get into town," said Mayor Roger Van Horn.
Van Horn says the city supports the latest plans.
"I would say the second phase is way in the future and that's why we're doing phase one and re-routing trucks and make it much safer and its going to help a lot with congestion,"said Van Horn.
If approved, that first phase starts with problems areas on the south side of town.
Right now, the median on 59 is completely open for drivers to cross-over anywhere they want. When the first phase is completed, that will change.
Director of Transportation Operations, Herbert Bickley, says a raised median should decrease accidents.
"It concentrates the ones that want to cross the median at certain locations and it will allow them to just deal with two lanes of traffic," said Herbert Bickley.
It also removes a wide turn - called a clover leaf - that merges drivers onto the loop from 59. A tricky route for 18-wheeler, sometimes backing-up traffic for over a mile.
"The clover leaf at the traffic signal will be removed and it'll be a dual-left-turn. So hopefully we'll be able to move more trucks through the intersection," said Bickley.
The entire project could impact a total of seven businesses.
"We've got Ace Fence, Love Homes. There's a Chevron Gas Station. We've got hotels with partial clips and so likely we would have to take the whole structures," said Jennifer Adam, District Enviromental Coordinator.
Those retailers, according to Tx Dot, would received for financial assistance in re-locating.