LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - The proposed traffic switch for the U.S. 59/Loop 287 N. Interchange Project in Lufkin opened on schedule Wednesday afternoon despite a small hiccup on Tuesday.
The project, which was originally set to open Tuesday evening, impacts travel on several roadways including the Westbound Loop 287 and the FM 2021 exit. TxDOT Spokesperson Kathi White says the equipment failure was some sort of malfunction with a crane, but a part needed to fix the problem was delivered first thing Wednesday morning.
The northbound lanes opened shortly after 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday.
Traffic will now take the new northbound lanes towards Nacogdoches instead of the cloverleaf, which is now permanently closed.
The project, which looks like a concrete maze, is hopefully one step towards preventing any traffic jams in that area.
"Well, with the northbound there will still be some things cause you have the intersection of like 2021 right back here, so there are still some stuff that has to be done, but it is to where we can go ahead and put traffic on it," White said.
The area is a major roadway for northbound traffic coming in from Houston, Lufkin and surrounding areas. White adds she hopes the new bridge opening will help delay roadway stress, despite the overall project still being only halfway done.
"There's quite a bit more work. This is just a small part that we're able to relieve some of the traffic headaches so we get to open up another area to put traffic on, but there is a lot more left to it," White said.
The two ramp entrances from Loop 287 to U.S. 59 will be permanently closed and taken out, while the southbound lanes of the project are still under construction. Yet, White says TxDOT and its contractor Webber LLC are keeping a close eye on safety.
"With anything new it's going to take the traffic, you know, a minute to get acclimated to the changes and since there's going to be a number of changes," White said.
The project is expected to be completed sometime next year.