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I-69 committee meets in Victoria

Sonny Long

By Sonny Long
March 11, 2011 at 5:03 p.m.
Updated March 10, 2011 at 9:11 p.m.

D.A. and Merle Ann West check out maps handed out during the Interstate 69 segment corridor meeting in Victoria on Friday. The Wests attended the meeting hoping to see if any potential routes would affect their property on Schroeder Road in Victoria County.

Victoria County resident D.A. West was in search of information Friday and came away encouraged.

He and his wife, Merle Ann West, attended Friday's Texas Department of Transportation Interstate 69 Corridor Segment Committee meeting, hoping to learn whether the highway plans would affect their property on Schroeder Road.

"I want to know where it's going," West said. "At one time, some part of this was going to go near our place at Schroeder Road and Upper Mission Valley Road and even might come farther our way.

"We live near Coleto Lake and are building a sub-division there and would like to know if it will affect it."

"I'd also like to know how it's going to be funded," West added.

The Wests studied a couple of maps handed out during the meeting, but the maps showed forecasted 2035 average daily traffic numbers and 2005-09 crash rates along U.S. Highway 59 and U.S. Highway 77, not any potential routes for I-69.

Much of the discussion among committee members centered on a possible relief route in the Houston area project and how to get the public involved in the process. Public involvement activities are anticipated to begin this summer.

Several members emphasized the importance of the public understanding and supporting the project.

"It won't ever happen if there isn't local advocacy for it," said Alan Clark, manager of transportation and air quality programs for the Houston-Galveston Area Council. "This doesn't happen if you don't want it. A lot of work needs to be done with local leadership so they understand it."

West was encouraged by that particular topic.

"The main thing everyone kept saying is that it's up to the people," West said. "That's refreshing compared to what they tried to do with the Trans Texas Corridor. There's no doubt it's needed."

Committee members worked with Karen Snyder of Katz & Associates and Ken Thompson of Thompson Marketing to begin to develop a public outreach plan.

The committee is one of five regional citizen advisory groups meeting to help the Texas Department of Transportation plan projects along the route.

The Corridor Three Committee has jurisdiction from Harris County southward to Bee and Refugio counties.

Domingo Montalvo Jr., mayor of Wharton, chairs the committee. Representatives also include entities in Victoria, Goliad, Refugio and Jackson counties.

Area TxDOT representatives in attendance included district engineer Lonnie Gregorcyk and Amy Loos, public information officer.



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