Kilgore’s Bodacious BBQ to chop shop for highway expansion

Kilgore’s Bodacious BBQ to chop shop for highway expansion
Published: Feb. 28, 2023 at 11:52 AM CST|Updated: Feb. 28, 2023 at 10:05 PM CST
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KILGORE, Texas (KLTV) - The expansion of Highway 42 in Gregg County is drawing closer. The project will widen the road from two to five lanes from I-20 to Highway 80 in White Oak. TxDOT has made several right-of-way acquisitions, and some businesses are happy about the expansion. Some are definitely not.

It’s no mystery Highway 42 has a lot of traffic, which is why TXDOT is widening the road. But to do that they need property. And, according to Bodacious Bar-B-Q owner Billy Ray Suggs, they bought some of his at 42 and I-20. Unfortunately, his building was too close to the proposed road.

“We had to take about twenty feet off of this end of the building, which was an option that we were given. We could either move or we could stay here,” Suggs said.

Suggs wanted to stay put and be proactive, so he shortened the building and remodeled at the same time, and it’s nearly finished. He knows that they’ll:

“We’ll have to make some entrance and exit changes and parking lot changes,” Suggs said.

He says the TxDOT payment offset the cost of the remodel.

“We’ve only had to close for three or four days for some of the changes just to remodel. And so, I thought that was very fortunate on that,” Suggs said.

But across the street several businesses are on a property owned by one person. He declined an on-camera interview but said TxDOT bought some of his property and most of the businesses will lose their parking lots, and he’ll have to take down signage.

The Kilgore City Council recently voted to pay $240,000 to have utilities along 42 relocated to clear the way for TxDOT. As far as present use of 42,

“A lot of people are avoiding this road now because of the congestion on it,” Suggs said.

He believes traffic will get worse during construction but:

“We’re looking forward to the road. It’s going to be so much nicer when they get done with that. Of course, that’s going to take years. But progress is sometimes inconvenient, but it’s always necessary,” Suggs said.

According to TXDOT’s website construction is slated to begin sometime in 2024.