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 NET RMA is undergoing a comprehensive data-driven process to identify the best possible route option, or build alternative, and compare it against a no build (or “do nothing”) alternative.
At this time, the NET RMA is initiating an environmental study to document potential impacts to the natural and human environment, and public involvement is a critical component to this effort. The study team will host the next public meeting in Spring 2020.
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.
A final decision on what could potentially be built is anticipated in 2022.
The report documents the comprehensive evaluation process and public involvement effort in which three route options were identified for further study.
The study team has plotted each route option on Google Earth to give stakeholders 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.
Now, the NET RMA will be moving into an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), in which the three routes identified through the feasibility study and a no build (or “do nothing”) alternative will be reviewed and thoroughly evaluated. The study team will also prepare a preliminary roadway design called a schematic.
An EIS is the most robust and rigorous study there is for transportation projects and follows the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). Elements of the EIS study include socioeconomic resources; water resources; ecological resources; vegetation, wildlife, and threatened and endangered species; hazardous materials; and traffic noise, among others. Similar to the feasibility study phase, the evaluation of impacts to private property will be an important consideration in the EIS.
Based on the study data and public input, one route option will be recommended as the build alternative. A no build (or “do nothing”) alternative will continue to be carried forward as a baseline for comparison and an option on the table.
ANTICIPATED EIS TIMELINE (subject to change)
- Early 2020: EIS Launches
- Spring 2020: Coordination begins with resource agencies
- Spring 2020: Public Scoping Meeting
- 2021: Identification of the build alternative, release of the Draft EIS, and Public Hearing
- 2022: Decision if the build alternative is approved to move forward and release of the Final EIS
- 2019-2022: Further public involvement, such as additional open houses, one-on-one meetings, presentations, newsletters, etc.
ROUTE OPTIONS ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE. Please note that the three route options moving forward for evaluation in the EIS are not final. The proposed route options are subject to change as we move forward through the study process.
PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT. Public involvement is a critical component to the NET RMA’s efforts to identify the best possible route option, and the study team welcomes all comments from the community as we move forward through this process. There will be multiple opportunities for public input.
We want to hear from you
While we are not currently in an official public comment period, you are welcome to send us your questions and sign up for updates. Please feel free to contact us using the form below. Or you can call our project hotline number at 903-594-4831, leave a message, and the project team will get back to you shortly.
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.