Proposed 'I-14 Corridor' would link El Paso to the Atlantic
By SHARON KERR
The Jasper Newsboy
Jasper County Commissioners Court will consider a resolution tomorrow supporting the U.S. Highway 96 Coalition to complete a four lane highway project from Beaumont to Tenaha, according to County Judge Mark Allen.
The current hurricane evacuation route planned by TxDOT (Texas Department of Transportation) calls for a fourlane divided highway to Jasper just north of Recreational Road 255.
TxDOT reports that some portions of this project south of Jasper are almost 90 percent complete. The widening, left turn lanes, bridges and upgrading should be complete in 2008.
Allen says, "The push will begin to start building northward to improve evacuation times and spur additional economic growth within the East Texas region."
The coalition's goal is to convince TxDOT to extend the four-lane to Tenaha to link with U.S. Highway 59.
Allen said such a move would benefit Sabine and San Augustine counties as well, and be a boon to travelers and future development in the area.
The second annual Texas Transportation Forum will meet in Austin July 18-20 to discuss other improvements to Texas' roads.
The state of Louisiana is taking similar measures along LA- 28 to create a four lane divided highway that will cross central Louisiana from border to border.
The coalition comittee reports, "We have made contact with representatives of the coalition in the states of Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi that are proposing the east/west Interstate 14 that would link to our proposed east/west leg."
Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn have introduced legislation to make a route from El Paso to the Atlantic a priority federal corridor.
More important to Jasper County, it would provide a direct route to Austin, according to Allen, who said, "We need a direct route to our state capitol."
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