Gregg County to work with TxDOT in widening Hwy 31

Gregg County Judge Bill Stoudt said a $200,000 loan is another step towards proposed Hwy 31 expansion.
Published: May. 30, 2023 at 4:56 PM CDT
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LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - If you’ve ever driven on Hwy 31 between Tyler and Longview, you know how dangerous it can be. In a recent Gregg County Commissioners Court, a loan was approved to help get a TxDOT Hwy 31 expansion project under way.

Gregg County Judge Bill Stoudt said a $200,000 loan is another step towards proposed Hwy 31 expansion.

“It’s long overdue. It needed to be done for many years and I’m just excited TxDOT has got it on their work plans,” Stoudt said.

TxDOT said preliminary work is being done on the project which runs from FM 1639 near Kilgore to Loop 323 in Tyler. Gregg County’s portion runs to the Smith County line, according to Stoudt.

He said Smith County will help with the stretch into Tyler.

“We’re going to be coming back and widening those single lanes into two lanes with a continual turn lane,” Stoudt said.

He said it’s a project that’s been discussed for about six years.

“A lot of people have lost their lives out there. And we need to separate the traffic badly,” Stoudt said.

He said TxDOT will fund construction.

“Right of way acquisitions that we’re responsible for and we decided to finance it through TxDOT’s Land Bank, which is basically you borrow money for a very, very low interest rates and pay it back fairly quickly,” Stoudt said.

He said that way the county won’t take a $200,000 hit all at once. He said there will be no additional taxes because of the project, and next on the agenda is right of way acquisition from private landowners.

Stoudt said a better roadway has been needed for some time.

“It’s going to correct an issue that I think has been out there for many years. A number of people have lost their lives and hopefully we’ll cut that back if not stop it,” Stoudt said.

TxDOT has held some preliminary public meetings and started design work. They said the bidding process for the job is slated for 2030.

KLTV’s Jamey Boyum spoke with Gregg County Judge Bill Stoudt about a loan the county is taking out to acquire property along Hwy 31 for a complete BH TxDOT expa