CENTER, TX (KTRE) - Friday, local and state elected officials along with TxDot representatives held a groundbreaking ceremony for extension to loop 500 in center. This has been a Long-awaited construction project for Shelby County.
Michael Lee, Nacogdoches area engineer, said, "This project is an extension of the existing loop. Ultimately, we'll have a loop 500 from U.S. 96 South of Center to U.S. 96 North of Center."
U.S. 96 and U.S. 59 serve as a major north-south route for trucking in East Texas. TxDot says on average about 25 percent of daily traffic on U.S. 96 is trucks and explained why this loop 500 extension is under way. "Mainly to relieve traffic from us 96 in downtown center. There's some traffic issues at state highway 7 and state highway 87," Lee said.
The mayor of Center feels the community and truck drivers will benefit from the extension.
"Tyson's processing's here, we have timber, we have oil and gas, we have truck traffic all through the town. This will allow us to pass that around the community instead of going through the downtown area, which will be safer. It will also be much easier for truck traffic to do. Currently they can go part of the way and have to jag back into town; this will allow them to make a three fourths circle around our community," Mayor Chadwick said.
The community knows that this $11.9 million dollar project will improve safety in Center.
Mayor Chadwick said, "The community has been very positive with this whole project. They also see the growth that we've had in the last ten years and realize that we need to do something to accommodate that."
The economic development of the city has been able to put aside $1.2 million for the project and three-fourths of the community will be serviced with this addition.
This new section of loop 500 will be a two lane highway with paved shoulders extending about 3-point-3 miles. The project will take about two years to complete.