Highway 59, Part Three

Planning and funding issues have put it on hold for almost a decade. But now the Texas Department of Transportation's Highway 59 Expansion Project is underway.

"There on 59 coming into Lufkin. It will separate the truck traffic from the local traffic and it will move them on and up on to the new direct connector that will take them onto the loop," said Texas Depatrtment of Transportation official Steve Evans.

TxDOT officals have the plan all mapped out. They're hoping to complete the project within 3 years. Land acquisition and preliminary engineering are almost complete, but actual construction will not start until this summer.

"We will replace the underpass at tulane completely. Tear the one down that's there completely and replace it and add u-turns there. The biggest structure will be the direct connect that'll go up and over from the northbound side. It will be real similar to the one that's in place now for the southbound," TxDOT offical David Collmorgan said.

To speed up completion, and cause less inconvenience for drivers, some of the work will be done at night. But some traffic backups will be unavoidable.

"I can't say it's not going to be an inconvenience because it's the busiest part of town, but we're trying to minimize it as much as we can," Collmorgan added.

Texas Department of Transportation officials urge East Texans to be patient. They say once the project is finished it will be worth the wait.