August 1, 2023 Update: The proposed Toll 49 Segment 6 remains on hold. There is no date set for the public scoping meeting, and there is no anticipated project schedule at this time. We will notify the community when an update becomes available, including the next time the community has an opportunity to comment on the proposed project. There is no decision on the final route location.
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The NET RMA is exploring potential route options for a proposed extension of Toll 49 north to US 271. The limits of the proposed Toll 49, Segment 6 are from the Toll 49 Segment 5 eastern terminus at SH 110 to US 271 in Smith County, Texas. The extension would improve the efficiency of the regional transportation network and enhance long-term mobility and connectivity throughout Northeast Texas. This effort is part of the long-range commitment of the NET RMA to the ultimate development of the East Texas Hourglass.
The proposed project would consist of the design and construction of an interim two-lane (one lane in each direction) roadway with intermittent passing lanes. The ultimate design includes four lanes (two in each direction) with either a grassy median or a concrete barrier.
On March 27, 2020, the NET RMA initiated an environmental study called an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in order to identify the best possible route option and document potential impacts to the natural and human environment. An EIS is the most robust and rigorous study there is for transportation projects. This process follows the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). It is anchored by transparent decision-making and ample public involvement opportunities.
Three route options identified in the feasibility study report, which was published on November 8, 2019, will move into the EIS as possible preliminary alternatives to be considered along with the no-build, or “do nothing”, alternative. The three route options under study are subject to change as the project team considers public comments, gathers additional information on the project area, and evaluates impacts. The routes will undergo intensive review and the project team may identify factors that could result in further route adjustments.
Elements of the EIS study include socioeconomic resources; water resources; biological resources; historic and archaeological resources; hazardous materials; and traffic noise, among others.
Based on the study data and public input, one route option will be recommended as the build alternative. A final decision on what could potentially be built is anticipated approximately three to four years after the public scoping meeting is held.
STATUS: The project is currently on hold. The next step in the EIS process is for the agency to hold a public scoping meeting. This meeting is not yet scheduled.
Key EIS Milestones
- March 2020: EIS launched
- May 2020: Resource agency coordination
- July 2020: Project put on hold
- TBD: Public Scoping Meeting/ Open House No. 1
- TBD: Open House No. 2
- TBD: Identification of the build alternative, public release of the Draft EIS, and Public Hearing
- TBD: Decision if the build alternative is approved to move forward and public release of the Final EIS
If the build alternative is approved, the NET RMA Board of Directors will then decide if the agency will move forward with the approved project.
The following are links to resources and publications available for view.
- Environmental Impact Statement Notice of Intent (dated March 27, 2020)
- March 2020 Update Presentation (dated March 27, 2020)
- Feasibility Study (dated November 8, 2019)
The project team has plotted the current route options under study on Google Earth to give the public a closer look. You will need to install the free Google Earth software on your computer in order to use this tool. Click here to download Google Earth. Use the link below to access and download the KMZ file.
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MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING: The environmental review, consultation, and other actions required by applicable Federal environmental laws for this project are being, or have been, carried-out by TxDOT pursuant to 23 U.S.C. 327 and a Memorandum of Understanding dated December 9, 2019 and executed by FHWA and TxDOT.