A Texas Department of Transportation Highway Improvement Project
What did the Feasibility Study determine?
Through public involvement and engineering analysis, the 2018 feasibility study recommended a western corridor. The recommendation reflects two potential tie-in points north of Jacksonville, while only endorsing a southern connection at the existing Loop 456. The project’s schematic and environmental phase will determine a final route alignment.
Why not just widen the existing US 69 instead of the Relief Route?
The Feasibility Study evaluated widening US 69 through Jacksonville. Although it addresses the need for added capacity, it doesn’t provide a long-term solution for regional mobility or safety due to the number of intersections, access points, and traffic signals. This alternative also severely impacts the adjacent properties – a majority of businesses would be displaced by this scenario.
Will this project affect the quality of my water?
No, it is against federal and state laws for any proposed improvement to negatively impact an area’s water supply. All potential alignments will be fully evaluated to ensure water quality is not negatively impacted. The general proximity of the proposed route will not be any closer to Lake Jacksonville than the existing US 79 or FM 747 facilities.
How long will the schematic and environmental process take?
The schematic and environmental process is expected to take 3 to 5 years. For a proposed new location facility, such as this relief route, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires a more detailed and rigorous evaluation called an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
When is the next public meeting?
The next public meeting has not yet been scheduled. Please check the News & Events section for the latest meeting information.
How does the ROW acquisition process work?
As part of the Schematic and Environmental development, TxDOT will host a series of public meetings. ROW representatives will be available at every meeting to answer any questions you may have about the process.
ROW will NOT be acquired until the schematic is final and the project receives a “Record of Decision” or ROD. At that time, TxDOT will send a letter to all affected property owners. The letter will identify the ROW agent, appraiser, and their corresponding companies assigned to the project. These representatives are the only persons authorized by the State to acquire property.
Following TxDOT’s initial letter, the ROW agent will contact the property owner(s) and setup an appraisal. Owners have the right and are encouraged to be on-site during the appraisal. The ROW agent will make an initial offer based on that assessment. The property owner can accept or counter until a purchase price is agreed to by all parties. Following an agreement, the process proceeds much like a private sale and a closing date is scheduled at a local title company. If an agreement cannot be reached, the State may begin condemnation proceedings. Details about the procedure are outlined in the State of Texas Landowner’s Bill of Rights, which is available at www.txdot.gov. Copies are also be available at all public meetings.
Will the Relief Route be tolled?
No, the relief route will not be tolled.
What is the facility type?
The relief route will be a four‐lane divided roadway with grade separations at railroad crossings and other priority corridors identified during the schematic development. Based on current TxDOT policies, the relief route will be access controlled (i.e. no driveways with direct access to the highway). TxDOT will acquire ROW for the ultimate configuration and corridor; however pending funding the construction may be phased or completed in segments.
When will construction begin?
No date is set for the project’s construction. Currently, the Schematic and Environmental Impact Statement is underway. ROW acquisitions, construction plans development, and utilities relocations will follow and must be completed prior to construction.
Is the project funded for construction?
No, TxDOT will develop the estimated construction estimate once a preferred route is identified. Construction funds will likely to be a combination of federal and state funding.
How many homes/businesses does each alternative affect (take)?
The Gold Route shows 24 structures impacted by the project.
The Blue Route shows 25 structures impacted by the project.
How much ROW does each alternative propose?
The Gold Route requires approximately 736 acres of new right-of-way.
The Blue Route requires approximately 611 acres of new right-of-way.
How much does a project of this magnitude cost?
Typically, a new location, controlled-access facility will range from $15-$20 million per mile. The Design Team has not developed a cost estimate for this project yet.
Where will funds come from?
Construction funding has not been identified but is likely to be a combination of federal and state funding.
How much does City of Jacksonville and/or Cherokee County have to pay for?
Since this facility will be designated as a hurricane evacuation route, the City and County will not have any financial obligations associated with the project other than non-reimbursable utility relocations.
Website says environmental/schematic phase will take 3-5 years. Coordination Plan says the ROD in Summer 2021 (approximately 18 months from meeting). Which one is it?
The Coordination Plan is a draft document and subject change, pending public and agency comments. The design team will update its timeline as we receive feedback. Typically, a project of this size and scale takes 3 to 5 years to complete its environmental/schematic stage.
Why is only one alternative alignment shown south of US 175?
Public involvement and engineering analysis during the feasibility study determined that only one alternative south of US175 should be considered in the schematic phase.
Why is TxDOT working on this project again?
Numerous studies have examined the US 69 corridor in regard to its connectivity and future traffic needs. Currently, the US 69 and US 175 corridors are under evaluation to determine freight connectivity between the Cities of Dallas and Houston. In the recent past, a statewide US 69 corridor study, examined potential improvements between the City of Beaumont to the roadway’s terminus in north Texas. Both studies have identified the Jacksonville Relief Route as a future need.
How did we decide to move forward with this project if everyone is against it?
During the Feasibility Study, the need for the project was generally understood. Any opposition was focused on the route’s alignment and whether it should go east or west of the city. Moving into the project’s schematic/environmental phase, TxDOT is seeking feedback regarding the public overall support and its preferred alignment. As always, a no-build alternative will be considered and available for comments.
What happens if we sign a petition?
To be a part of the official project record, the public must submit specific, individual comments regarding the project.
How can I sign up to be notified of project progress?