TYLER, Texas — The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is considering expanding Old Jacksonville Hwy from a four-lane to six-lane road to alleviate traffic in Tyler.
TxDOT says an extra lane would be added in both directions stretching from Loop 323 to Gresham. An overpass is also being proposed where the highway intersects with Grande Blvd.
"t’s become one of the most traveled roadways in our district," said TxDOT Tyler District spokesperson Jeff Williford.
It’s no secret Tyler is growing, especially with all the cars traveling along Old Jacksonville Hwy.
"As Tyler began to grow, there were talks of what can we do to improve mobility," Williford said.
TxDOT says the answer is to transform a portion of Old Jacksonville Hwy. by adding extra lanes. Dr. Seth Shirey with the Rose City Animal Clinic said it's something that's much needed.
"Aggressive driving is real and having that congestion just makes it so much worse," Shirey said.
Shirey experiences the congestion every day.
"The commute to get to work in the morning and then that commute home in the afternoon, those are by far the worst times," Shirey said.
TxDOT plans to completely redesign the intersection by adding an overpass to Old Jacksonville Hwy. where it meets Grande Blvd. If all goes according to plan, construction is set to begin in 2026. TxDOT estimates construction could last three to four years.
"As it gets completed, it will improve mobility and safety along the corridor," Williford said.
According to TxDOT, Old Jacksonville Hwy. has seen nearly 1,000 crashes, a few of which have been fatal, within the last four years.
This roadway sees about 32,000 cars each day. By 2045, TxDOT expects the number of cars to increase by 65%.
"This is one way to counteract that and be prepared and plan for that," Williford said.
Tyler resident Vickie Mackey avoids this area when traffic is high.
"Well don’t even try to make a left out of our neighborhood at 8 a.m.," Mackey said.
Mackey is one of many who attended the last public meeting concerning the proposed expansion of Old Jacksonville Hwy - a stretch of highway that is in for a change.
"Hopefully it will improve mobility and safety along that area," Williford said.
The next step in the project would be to go through the environmental phase and get that approved.
If it does get approval, TxDOT will then work with land owners for land acquisition. Until then, drivers will still have to deal with the congestion on Old Jacksonville Hwy.