What? TXDOT Projected To Spend $190M Widening A Tyler, Texas Road
A much-needed road expansion is coming to an extremely busy stretch of roadway through south Tyler, Texas. The project is now going to come with a much heftier price tag than originally thought. The expansion of FM 2493/Old Jacksonville Hwy. has been in the planning stages for many years now. The current four-lane center turn lane road will undergo quite a transformation and will be turned into a six-lane road with a raised median with integrated left turn lanes. The city of Tyler will see the addition of a bridge over a major roadway, something the city has never seen before.
According to 2019 traffic studies, FM 2493 carries approximately 32,000 vehicles per day and state traffic projections show that number increasing to 53,000 by the year 2045. The purpose of the proposed project is to improve mobility and safety along the corridor through additional travel lanes, upgraded intersections, and raised medians.
The FM 2493 expansion project is anticipated to begin sometime in 2026 once the construction funds are available. Looking at a press release announcing an upcoming open house meeting of the Tyler Metropolitan Planning Organization (Tyler MPO), they will discuss changes to the forecasted costs for highway projects in the Tyler area and program new funding through the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) Carbon Reduction Program. Costs have risen for all planned projects around Tyler, but the cost of this specific expansion project has more than tripled.
The widening of FM 2493/Old Jacksonville Hwy. from Loop 323 to FM 2813 in Gresham was previously forcasted to cost $52,310,000. The new cost for the project is $189,850,302. So far no reason has been given on why the project expenses have tripled, but I'm sure that question can be addressed by attending the open house meeting.
TXDOT has hosted three public meetings on the project, April 2019, November 2021 and March 2023, to inform the public on the progress and to receive input about the project too. Planning for the road widening project is moving forward with the state beginning to acquire right-of-way property tentatively in 2024.
I am in favor of this expansion because I travel this road at least ten times each week and yes, it can become extremely congested at times. I have just one question though...
Why no overpass at Old Jacksonville Hwy. and Loop 323?
That's my only question. Approaching Loop 323 from the south, you can be sitting at the traffic light to turn left (west on Loop 323) for two or three light cycles at times. If traffic is expected to increase by 65% in 2045, why not go ahead and plan for an overpass and ramps for this intersection? It's just a question that I'm sure has a good complicated answer as everything there seems to be landlocked.
To follow along and for more information on this road expansion project check out this TXDOT site.