Tuesday TxDot held a public hearing to inform citizens, as well as listen to concerns, about a proposed project on U.S. 69 and Pine Island Bayou. TxDot spokesperson Sarah Dupre says this project will be helpful.

“This project is going to be a great asset to Southeast Texas,” said Dupre. “It is going to allow people to use the frontage roads if 69 is backed up for any reason, such as a wreck or something of that nature. So it’s really going to help congestion in that area and it’s going to be a really great benefit to people who drive that area every day.”

The proposed $12 million project, which plans to begin construction in the summer, would construct continuous northbound and southbound frontage roads from Tram Road to Cooks Lake Road. As well North and southbound frontage road bridges over Pine Island Bayou in hopes to reduce traffic in the area.  But for Hardin County resident Don Collins he doesn’t see the need for the project.

“This project is totally unnecessary, as far as relieving traffic for people that are leaving or evacuating from storms,” said Collins. “Which we do what? Once every 5, 6, 7, 10 years. This project is useless.”

Dupre says that is not the case.

“This project will help with hurricane evacuation because we are going to be connecting those frontage roads,” said Dupre. “Before it was kind of a bottle neck the frontage roads didn’t go over Pine Island (Bayou), and so now they will. That will definitely help with hurricane evacuation.”

“One of the main concerns expressed from citizens Tuesday night, was fate of the boat ramp on Pine Island Bayou. Would it be moved or would it be shut down completely? Dupre says that won’t be a problem.

“We are happy to let people know that we will be keeping a boat ramp in that area,” said Dupre. “We are actually going to be replacing the boat ramp that is there now. Moving it out of the way of the new bridges.  So we are very excited to be able to offer that to people who wanted that. “

The boat ramp will remain closed during the projected 20 month construction period for safety reasons.