The I-69 Angelina and Nacogdoches Counties Study evaluated a recommended option for upgrading US 59 to interstate standards, with the goal of designating and signing US 59 as I-69. The citizen-led I-69 Angelina and Nacogdoches Counties Committee was formed in December 2012 and reviewed the US 59 "Upgrade" and "New Location" options. The recommendations of the committee, along with citizen input, will guide TxDOT on future I-69 project development.
The study includes two broad options for consideration:
- Upgrade the existing US 59 roadway and expand it to meet present and future needs
- Build relief routes around Nacogdoches and Lufkin and Diboll
The final recommendation may be one option or the other or a combination of the two.
Nacogdoches County — Current Status
Nacogdoches County Committee members recommended an option that involves upgrading the existing US 59 as far north as possible before moving onto a new location alignment west of Nacogdoches. A second option calls for upgrading the existing US 59 to interstate standards, which upholds the commitment of the Texas Transportation Commission to stay on existing alignment to the greatest extent possible. These options were presented at a public meeting:
- US 59 New Location Option — Using the recommendation of the committee, TxDOT is examining a new location alignment beginning near Woodland Hills Drive traveling west around Nacogdoches, passing just east of the A.L. Mangham Regional Airport and connecting back to the existing US 59 south of US 259. The new location alignment would be a four-lane access controlled highway with no frontage roads.
- US 59 Upgrade Option — This option would involve upgrading the existing US 59 alignment to interstate standards through Nacogdoches to US 259. This section would be an access controlled highway widened to accommodate four travel lanes and frontage roads.
Angelina County — Current Status
Complete the Diboll Relief Route — The number one priority of Angelina County committee members is advancing the development of the Diboll Relief Route. TxDOT completed the environmental process and had approved schematic design plans in 1999 for this project, but because of the elapsed time an environmental re-evaluation will be required. TxDOT is proceeding with preparing a re-evaluation of the environmental assessment (environmental document) and with right-of-way map updates.
It should be noted that design and construction funding has not been identified for any of the projects above. Additionally, TxDOT continues to have funding shortfalls in excess of $4 billion per year which makes the financing and delivery of roadway projects challenging. TxDOT will work to develop a long-term strategy to identify funding for advancing projects in Angelina and Nacogdoches counties. This may include federal, state and local resources as well as innovative financing tools such as tolls, establishment of a transportation reinvestment zone (TRZ), local participation in right-of-way costs and donations from local land owners. Despite the funding shortfalls, TxDOT remains committed and understands the importance of advancing I-69 throughout Texas, including Angelina and Nacogdoches counties.
I-69 in Texas Is Needed
Federal legislation has authorized the development of the I-69 system in Texas along specified U.S. routes, including US 59. The development of I-69 in Texas would relieve traffic congestion caused by a growing population, provide safer travel through the state, improve evacuation routes and support economic development. Existing US 59 does not have the capacity to serve projected traffic volumes and does not meet interstate standards through Angelina and Nacogdoches counties.
TxDOT Lufkin District