March 27, 2020 Video Update:
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.
A final decision on what could potentially be built is anticipated in 2023.
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. As the EIS process continues, the three route options currently 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. Routes will be refined and finally narrowed down to one build alternative.
Elements of the EIS study include socioeconomic resources; water resources; biological resources; historic and archaeological resources; hazardous materials; and traffic noise, among others. The project team will also prepare a preliminary roadway design called a schematic.
Based on the study data and public input, one route option will be recommended as the build alternative. It will likely be a variation of the three route options from the feasibility study.
ROUTE OPTIONS ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE. Please note that the route options currently under consideration are not final. The proposed route options are subject to change as we move forward through the EIS 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. During the EIS process, there will be multiple meetings for the public to learn more, ask questions, and provide comment. Sign up for updates to receive notification when meetings are scheduled.
Anticipated EIS Timeline (subject to change)
- March 2020: EIS Launches
- May 2020: Coordination begins with resource agencies
- 2020: Public Scoping Meeting/ Open House No. 1
- Early 2021: Open House No. 2
- Early 2023: Identification of the build alternative, public release of the Draft EIS, and Public Hearing
- 2023: 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. This could occur as early as 2023.
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.
We want to hear from you
You are welcome to send us your questions and sign up for updates. Please use the form below or call our project hotline number at 903-594-4831, leave a message, and the project team will get back to you shortly.
A public scoping meeting will be scheduled in 2020 and the meeting will have a 30-day official comment period. The NET RMA continues to monitor public health guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the state of Texas regarding large public events. Sign up for updates to receive notification when the meeting is scheduled.
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.