SMITH COUNTY (KYTX) - The first items on a long list of road improvements in Smith County have begun.Throughout the year, TxDot will work on several roads to make them safer and ease traffic congestion.
CBS 19's Katiera Winfrey spoke to TxDot and drivers about what we can expect to see over the next few months
Traffic is the effect of a continuously growing city, that's outgrowing it's roads.
For years a trouble spot in Tyler has been west Loop 323 between Bellwood and west Front street, just under the railroad overpass.
"Especially during the five o'clock traffic it bottle necks and it makes it really difficult going back and forth," said driver Bryan Beard. In the run of the day he makes multiple trips under the overpass.
Lanes drop from three to two in that area, so TxDot is adding an additional lane on each side. But they have to extend the railroad overpass to do that.
Larry Krantz with TxDot knows how much a change is needed.
"Everyone who drives along the west loop feels the affect of the bottleneck," he said.
Starting in February, TxDot will begin an estimated one and half year project to fix the problem.
A second major improvement TxDot is going to make to Smith County roads, has already started on state highway 31. The improvements will add an additional passing lane from FM 850 to FM 757.
Krantz said, it's a big safety component and hopefully we are making high 31 safer."
Construction for the improvements to Highway 31 started Monday. TxDot hopes adding the additional passing lanes, will provide more passing opportunities, keep drivers from passing in no-passing zones and create wider shoulders to make turning off the highway safer.
This project is expected to be finished by the Fall
Even though those are two major projects TxDot dot is starting. There are nearly a dozen all together.
TxDot said, to keep traffic backup at a minimum, most of the road improvements at west Loop 323 will be done at night.