Ultimately, citizen input will precede I-69 corridor work here
Both the Atlanta City Council and Cass County Commissioners Court recently passed resolutions supporting the Texas Department of Transportation’s study of potential routes for Interstate Highway 369, which will facilitate traffic through northeast Texas as part of the planned Interstate 69 corridor.
I-69 will be a national interstate extending from Texas to Michigan. The Texas portion of the route includes a number of existing roadways, among them U.S. 59, U.S. 84, U.S. 77 and U.S. 281.
Much of the corridor through this area will follow an upgraded U.S. 59, but because of interstate specifications that must be met -- roadway width, the installation of frontage roads -- the corridor must go around towns like Atlanta and Linden, most likely through the use of relief routes.
One of the reasons for the recent local resolutions is to reserve a seat at the table for Cass County communities once planning of those routes gets underway -- something which could still be years away.
In addition to local governments being involved, citizens will have a seat at the table as well.
“They (transportation officials) will look at several different routes, they’ll look at environmental, historical, churches, homes. Different things. Cemeteries. There are certain things you have to miss, have to go around,” said Marcus Sandifer, public information officer with TxDOT’s Atlanta District.
“Once the study is complete, it will be presented in a public meeting. We’ll have it open to the public, and they can come in and talk about it and look at the different studies and … voice their opinion on which route they prefer.”
Marshall, also along the I-69 corridor, has been engaged in such a process for years now, Sandifer pointed out.
Another public meeting for that area is scheduled for the fall.
There, a number of routes were looked at before a preferred route was chosen. The next meeting will focus on that route.
The I-69 corridor is a huge project with many parts -- as Texas is a huge state, many of those parts are here.
In some places interstate has already been constructed and in others work is underway.
Segments of I-69 corridor are being constructed as funding becomes available, and there’s no set timeframe yet for work through Cass County.
Less traffic flows along the route through our area than some other communities along the corridor, and those areas have been higher priorities.
Ultimately, I-69, which will extend from the border with Mexico to the Canadian border, is seen as a faster, safer route for commerce going north and south, and vice versa -- commerce which has already seen truck traffic increase along the corridor.