New section of Toll 49 opens

New section of Toll 49 opens

SMITH COUNTY (KYTX) - If you've been hoping for a way around traffic in Tyler, and a faster commute, the answer is finally here: Loop 49.

No matter how long you've lived in Tyler, you know how time consuming it can be to get out of town to I-20.

Now that the toll road is open to passing vehicles here, you could save time and headaches.

It's something a lot of drivers are taking advantage of already.

As soon as the cones were moved aside, cars were off to find a quicker way home Thursday evening.

"When getting on the highway, I saw no cones. Thought, hey might as well try it today," says Calina Presley.

Presley was one of the first dozen cars to cross the line and head south on Loop 49.

Something she plans to do in the future to get to her job off I-20.

"I used to live in the middle of Tyler and I worked at 5 o'clock in the morning. There were 12 lights between the time I left the house and got to work," says Presley.

Faster posted speed limits and no lights mean a faster commute, shaving about 15 minutes off your drive from I-20 to South Tyler, but it comes at a cost. $2.15 for passenger vehicles with a toll tag, $2.85 without. And for bigger trucks, $8.60 with a tag and $11.40 without.

"Our revenue will go up very quickly, with in the next 30 days or so, it will increase 60%," says Gary Halbrooks, the Vice Chair of the North East Texas Regional Mobility Authority.

Halbrooks says section 3-B is the king-pin because of I-20.

"Phenomenal happening for East Texas," says Halbrooks.

"It'll save a few minutes, not a whole lot, but save a few minutes for me on the drive in the morning," says Presely.

Time saving, stress saving, and the North East Texas Regional Mobility Authority says it's not done yet.

The board is already planning the next expansion to the north side of Longview, and maybe beyond.

As we told you on Tuesday, NETRMA decided to allow bike riders on the ten mile stretch from 110 south to 155 south.

The cycling community has until July to raise $60,000 for striping and signs.



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