Future Interstate 14 to pass through Jasper, Tyler counties - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Future Interstate 14 to pass through Jasper, Tyler counties

Source: KTRE Staff Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff Source: KTRE Staff
EAST TEXAS (KTRE) -

Highway 190 is busy road in Deep East Texas, but it's about to get busier as it will be part of the future Interstate 14.

The designated Central Texas Corridor begins in West Texas and generally follows US Highway 190 through Killeen, Belton, Bryan-College Station, Huntsville, Livingston, Woodville, and Jasper before terminating on State Highway 63 at the Sabine River.

The I-14 corridor designation amendment was sponsored in the U.S. Senate by Texas Senator John Cornyn. It was authored and presented in the U.S. House of Representatives by Texas Congressman Brian Babin of Woodville with support from Congressman Blake Farenthold of Corpus Christi, both members of the House Transportation Committee.


The Strategic Highway Coalition has been working for more than a decade in support of Texas highway improvements that will improve access between major U.S. Army installations at Fort Bliss, Fort Hood and Fort Polk and the Texas strategic deployment seaports that support them – the Port of Corpus Christi and the Port of Beaumont.
 
Senator Cornyn said, “Our highway transportation network in Texas plays a critical role in connecting military installations and communities, and I am pleased to have worked with members of the Texas delegation to add Interstate 14 and the Central Texas Corridor to the nation’s road map.”

Congressman Babin said, “There is a reason this interstate already has a nickname, ‘Forts to Ports,' as it provides either direct or very close access for some of our country's most strategically important military and shipping assets. I was honored and proud to help lead this successful effort in designating the Central Texas Corridor as the first segment of what I truly believe will be America's next great highway, Interstate 14.”

In helping introduce the amendment in the House, Congressman Roger Williams of Weatherford said that the I-14 route "is important for east-west connectivity and provides an important link to military facilities, metropolitan areas and Texas' existing and future interstate system. This highway will connect two of the nation's largest military bases, Fort Bliss and Fort Hood." The I-14 designation will save travel time and create a key connector for freight movements while linking Army installations and strategic seaports, he said.

The current path of the projected interstate runs right through downtown Woodville, where several local businesses, like Karolyna Kuts Salon, Spa, and Antiques  enjoy the pass through traffic.

 "Just anyone passing through coming or going, they see the sign and they come in so we love the traffic that comes in from Hwy 190," said Karolyna Kuts owner Meghan Huddleston.

There are two potential plans in constructing this portion of the interstate. 

 "One would be using the existing passage way which would put it right in front of the courthouse," said Tyler County Judge Jacques Blanchette. "That's a very limited space because of the structures that are already in existence."

The other option is creating a loop that would go around the city, by passing the current path.

"Sometimes cities and counties that have had bypasses takes traffic away from their downtown business sector," Blanchette said.

 "It could definitely change the traffic that comes through town so we could potentially lose potential customers," Huddleston said. "They would be shopping wherever they decided to put the loop."

However, the interstate will likely bring heavier traffic, making the loop seem like a viable option for another reason.

 "I'm from a bigger city so I was pleased to come here, I don't have 5 o'clock traffic, I don't have to wait in line," Huddleston said. "The current path could be a potential more accidents and we'd have bigger trucks coming through as well."

So far, the opinions on which option to go with seem to be mixed, but no matter what the path ends up being,  Blanchette said the interstate will be  a positive for Tyler County.

"The benefits are going to outweigh the challenges in the long run," Blanchette said.

Jasper County Judge Mark Allen said he thinks the interstate will benefit Jasper economically as well.

The extent possible the future interstate will consist of upgrades to the existing US 190 roadway and that additional studies will be needed to determine specific local routing alternatives. US 190 improvements will take place incrementally over time as funding becomes available and traffic demand grows with the state's population and freight traffic.

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