Nacogdoches leaders hoping to lessen I-69's impact on local businesses

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Later this evening, the Nacogdoches City Council is deciding on its endorsement of a route for Interstate 69 through the city and surrounding county.

Nacogdoches' city manager is making the recommendation with existing businesses and landowners in mind. It's the one time local input is important to the proposed highway project.

Motorists pass the future interstate corridor signs often too fast to notice, but city planners know the route by memory.

The point where the future interstate corridor passes over the Angelina River is where Nacogdoches gets involved. Closer in to town, the City of Nacogdoches has specific requests, Their goal is to protect as many businesses as possible.

An I-69 scoping committee of local representation said no to the state's desire to follow exclusively the existing U.S. Highway 59 route through Nacogdoches County.  Jim Jeffers, Nacogdoches' city manager, heads up the group. Its route stays on 59, up to a point.

"Coming across the Angelina bridge that will stay on that footprint before we have to swing either east or west of the airport, and then we'll come back into the U.S. 59 footprint before it reaches U.S. 259," Jeffers said.

Jeffers says the route will affect the least amount of existing businesses and landowners. At the same time, it will keep heavy truck traffic far enough away from city streets.

"The streets aren't designed to handle that type of traffic, and frankly, they don't want to be there," Jeffers said. "They want to move to their destination as quickly as possible."

Jeffers stresses the importance of local input. The interstate is designated in some areas already.

"So I think you will see some projects being built in the rural areas within the next 10 years," Jeffers said.

Following local recommendations, the state will conduct an environmental impact study. After making its recommendation, another series of public hearings will be held.

Copyright 2013 KTRE. All rights reserved.