It’s still in the making with 230 miles in place
By Elsa Maxey
With approved legislation from the state legislature in June, TxDOT is moving forward on further defining Interstate 69 (I-69) as part of its state highway system by seeking public input from residents in Fort Bend County. It will hold a public hearing today, Aug. 3, at 6 p.m. at the Gus George Law Enforcement Academy in Richmond, located at 1521 Eugene Heimann Circle.
Not only is the public being asked to attend the hearing to give input, but it may also submit written comments to TxDOT in writing, or do it online. Resident involvement in the decision making explains TXDOT’s motto for I-69, which is called “Driven by Texas.”
For several years, five segments of I-69 underwent the study of current and projected data and other factors relating to the development of the transportation corridor. From Fort Bend County, one of the segments of I-69 will follow the US 59 corridor southwest to Victoria. This Segment Three stretches from Refugio County to Harris County and also includes Fort Bend County. Lane Ward is Fort Bend County’s representative for the Segment Three Committee.
Essentially, I-69 will accommodate increasing traffic and help impact economic competitiveness in addition to serving emergency evacuations. The local area hearing this week will include a report on the designation of State Highway 59 in Fort Bend County as plans continue for the development of I-69 in meeting local transportation needs. It is important to note that I-69 in Texas has been conceived as an extension of highway systems passing through the eastern part of the state.
As for the newly passed state law signed by Gov. Rick Perry relating to I-69, it also gives cities and counties expanded authority to establish transportation reinvestment zones for building highway projects.
A coalition of cities, counties, port authorities, and community leaders forming Alliance for I-69 Texas reports that more than 230 miles of the I-69 route in Texas have been built, and that U.S. 59, U.S. 77, and U.S. 281 are being incrementally transformed into I-69. In the past few years upgrade projects have been completed on US 59 near Jefferson, Lufkin, Splendora, Sugar Land, Beasley, Kendleton and Victoria, it reports.
To submit public written comments on I-69, mail them to TxDOT, 125 E. 11th St., Austin, TX 78701 or go online to www.txdot.gov/DrivenbyTexans.