Texas Department of Transportation officials held their third and final public hearing on the widening of FM 16 west of Lindale this past Tuesday (June 26) in the Lindale High School Cafeteria, and said the price tag for the project would be an estimated $53.8 million.
The work will include widening a portion of FM 16 to five lanes, which will then be reduced to three lanes the closer it gets to downtown Lindale.
TxDOT Right of Way supervisor Mike Lightfoot said all right of way issues should be settled by the end of 2018 and that construction should begin in 2020.
Lightfoot said appraisers will meet with landowners in the affected areas and will set up appointments to meet with homeowners.
“Those who will be displaced will be notified for relocation eligibility,’’ Lightfoot said. “They will be given a 90-day notice before having to leave their property.’’
An estimated 175 people attended the hearing, which featured maps and charts along each wall of the cafeteria showing construction plans and dates.
In 2015, TxDOT estimated there were 1,200 vehicles traveling west of CR 436 (at Hideaway’s back entrance) and 5,700 vehicles traveling east toward Lindale each day.
TxDOT officials now estimate there are 1,900 vehicles traveling west of CR 436 and 8,000 traveling east of CR 436.
Jeffery Harmon, director of transportation, planning and development for TxDOT’s Tyler District, said the work will encompass 4.4 miles west of FM 849 – with two lanes on each side divided by a left turn lane -- and will include work in the eastern direction to U.S. Highway 69.
From FM 849 to the east toward downtown Lindale, plans call for a three lane highway divided by a left turn lane.
The roadway improvements are being designed to ease congestion and improve safety, TxDOT officials said.
“We have been able to work with the local governments and to gain public input on this project,’’ Harmon said.
There was time allotted at the end of the meeting for public comments, TxDOT officials were on hand to answer questions before and after the meeting and comments could be placed in one of several boxes located in the cafeteria.
Three residents spoke in person, with former Lindale Mayor Bobby McClenny taking the podium first. He said careful consideration is needed when the project nears downtown and might encroach on parking lots in place for downtown businesses.
“We were able to make improvements with the parking areas downtown and now we are faced with the possibility of narrowing it,’’ he said. “It defeats the purpose of having those parking lots. It makes it inconvenient for the shoppers because there will be less parking.’’
Tim Hunt was another speaker and he discussed his already submitted request to TxDOT concerning CR 467 and FM 16.
“I’ve asked (TxDOT) to reconsider the north side of 16 at 467 and make it intersection to improve the (whole) road,’’ he said.
TxDOT officials said public input is still welcome until July 12, 2018. For those who didn’t obtain comment sheets at the hearing can go online at www.txdot.gov and find the proper forms.