The $43 million, 8.6-mile project to expand U.S. 79 to four lanes between Tile Factory Road in Palestine and the four-lane section just before the Trinity River bridges will have a long-term affects on the economies of Palestine and Anderson County, according to the Palestine Area Chamber of Commerce.
“We’ve waited a long time for this project to move forward so a very significant transportation bottleneck can be eliminated,” Anderson County Judge Robert Johnston said. “Historically there is a direct correlation between highway expansion and economic development, and we’re already beginning to see signs of that future growth.”
The chamber and other Palestine and Anderson County officials will celebrate the recent groundbreaking of the project and the benefits the area will recognize upon its completion at a groundbreaking luncheon on Thursday.
Guest speakers will include Texas Transportation Commissioner Jeff Austin III, TxDOT Tyler District Engineer Randy Hopmann, Johnston and Palestine Mayor Bob Herrington.
Master of Ceremonies will be 369th Judicial District Court Judge Bascom W. Bentley III.
“Adding new lanes to U.S. 79 will not only make travel safer and more efficient through the corridor, it will provide new opportunities for residential and business growth, and that’s an exciting prospect,” Herrington said.
The project began last month and is expected to be completed in 2016.
Similar to the recent project to expand Texas 155 to two lanes in each direction, the new U.S. 79 lanes will be built away from traffic, so interruptions to existing traffic will be minimal. Once the new lanes are complete, traffic will be shifted to the new lanes so the old lanes can be rebuilt.