TYLER (KYTX) - The next eight miles of Loop 49 open Friday, connecting Highway 155 to Highway 31 West. That means Troup Highway will be connected all the way to Highway 31.
The final phase will connect 31 to Interstate 20 next year.
"It's a lot better to take Loop 49 than to zig zag in and out of lights."
Tyler firefighter Joey Hooton says the fire department uses the loop every day because in life or death situations, every second counts.
"If we can reduce the call time by one minute, that's dramatic, that's huge. You can't put a price tag on it." says Hooton.
Larry Krantz with TxDOT says the average East Texan will benefit too, shaving a full half hour off the trip from Troup Highway to Highway 31 West.
"That reduces it from a possible maximum of about 45 [minutes] to what, 12? So, that's the kind of mobility option I think people are looking for and are willing to pay a little bit extra to get." says Krantz.