TTC Out Of East Texas

by  Christa Lollis

Plans to wipe out hundreds of acres of East Texas land to build the TTC are no longer valid. During the past few months TXDOT held town meetings and public hearings throughout the state. 28 thousand people gave their opinions and most weren't in favor of the new road. "It was very evident that Deep East Texans want I-69 to be built along the existing US 59 and or 84 in this case corridor. They did not want us going out and plowing new ground they made that very, very evident," District Engineer David Cooley explained.

The people spoke and TXDOT listened. So now, the new plan is to use existing roads, mainly along highway 59, to create I-69. Some other roads will be used in South Texas and into Louisiana but still nothing is set in stone. TXDOT Assistant Executive Director,  Phil Russell says, "Up here in Lufkin and Nacogdoches we'll have those same discussions. Is it best that we widen 59 in places or should we look at the bypass. Will that serve these communities in the best way?"

Now the process of TXDOT meeting with East Texans will begin again. They hope today's announcement will prove to everyone that the meetings are crucial in the process. Cooley said, "I hope this announcement today will kind of put a little bit of faith back in this department and the fact that we are listening and we are trying to pay attention to what public demands and what the public feels is important, "

As for lawmakers opposed to the TTC, they're warning East Texans that while plans have changed, it should still stay on their minds. Wayne Christian told East Texans, "Now is the fight over? No and I was just visiting with a friend back there a while ago, it's not time for people to withdraw and crawl back and let things just run their own." TXDOT is still encouraging people to voice their opinions because they say even these plans aren't final.