Special to the News-Times
LUFKIN — The Texas Transportation Commission on Thursday approved $345 million for new construction projects statewide, including more than $4.8 million in the Lufkin District for new sidewalks, bikeways, and other types of infrastructure for the Lufkin District.
Commissioners approved 83 projects statewide that will improve access and provide safety enhancements for mobility options to schools, jobs, and local destinations. This historic investment in alternative pathways includes improvements to the City of Lufkin, the City of Coldspring, and the City of Huntington.
Commissioners also approved $1.7 million in maintenance contracts for the Lufkin District. Angelina, Houston, and Trinity County maintenance sections were approved for $1 million for limestone rock asphalt materials that will be used for road repairs on BU 69. Maintenance sections in Polk and San Jacinto counties were approved for $716,170 to be used for on-call traffic control on US 59.
“People who walk and bike make up about 1 out of every 5 deaths on roadways here in Texas,” Texas Transportation Commissioner Alvin New said. “These projects will help the state move closer toward the goal of zero deaths by giving people a place to walk and bike separate from traffic.”
In Coldspring, $3 million was approved for SH 150 West for pedestrian improvements. The project will construct a 5-foot-wide sidewalk along SH 150 from SH 156 to the Coldspring-Oakhurst High School campus. It will be constructed on the east side of the highway and will connect to an existing sidewalk east of Live Oak Street.
Texas is seeing a rising trend of pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities. In 2022 there were 830 pedestrians and 92 bicyclists killed, and over the last five years both have risen nearly 30-percent statewide. These projects will help improve safety for people walking, biking, or using wheelchairs, including 24 projects that will go in areas with a high pedestrian crash history across the state. The projects were selected after a competitive call for projects from cities and counties across the state.