Loop 49 around Tyler is the toll road that when joined to I-20 to the north will create an outer loop around the growing East Texas city. Commercial development had begun congesting traffic on the southern portion of Tyler's existing Loop 323. Tyler's population has grown to around 100,000, up from 84,000 in the 2000 Census.
Although the project is a part of the NET RMA (North East Texas Regional Mobility Authority) master plan for six counties in Northeast Texas, it is being constructed under TxDOT bid letting guidelines and supervision.
Young Construction began work in August 2003 on Segment 1 of Loop 49, which extends east from SH 155 (Frankston Hwy) in Noonday five miles to US 69 (Broadway Ave) south of Tyler. The project was completed and a grand opening was held in August 2006.
By that time, Longview Bridge & Road had commenced construction of Segment 2, a 2-mile stretch from the eastern end of Segment 1 at US 69 eastward to FM 756 (Paluxy Dr.). Construction of this new roadway through virgin land has moved along at a brisk pace in spite of two months of continual rain this past summer.
During the early stages of the project as crews cleared the right of way and brought in embankment fill, construction of the three bridges also began to take shape:
- Loop 49 over US 69
- Loop 49 over Shackleford Creek
- Paluxy Dr. over Loop 49
"This project was the first time we built a bridge with mass placement," said Scott Turner, project manager on this project for Longview Bridge & Road. "The columns were poured at one time with 25 to 30 [cubic] yards of concrete per column." In order to control the temperature of the concrete, Longview Bridge & Road crews poured the concrete at night during April, May and June 2006, according to Turner. Transit Mix supplied the concrete.
Tyler's signature rose was embossed into the column caps and painted. It is a design that the Tyler TxDOT District designed for numerous bridge structures in the area, including I-20 bridges near Tyler. Longview Bridge had the design cut from plywood and inserted it into the concrete forms for the column caps.
The density controlled subgrade includes 14 inches of flex base topped with a seal coat. Martin Marietta Materials supplied the flex base. Four inches of Type C asphalt base was applied in two 2-inch lifts, and topped with a 1-1/2-inch PFC (porous friction course) drive surface.
Longview Bridge & Road provided their own asphalt from their facility in Wood County. Long trailer dump trucks feed their Roadtec SB 2500C Shuttle Buggy that supplies HMA to a Terex Cedarapids 452 paver. An Ingersoll Rand vibratory compactor rolls density to 98 percent.
This is the first project in Smith County to use PFC hot mix, according to Turner. A PFC ride surface reduces spray and hydroplaning during rain, and it rains quite often in the Tyler area. The mainlanes will be 12 feet wide and the shoulders 10 feet wide.
The remaining six segments, which will form a 32-mile loop around the east and west sides of Tyler, are still in design, but could be completed in as little as seven years now that tolling has become a part of the funding. The total cost for the project has been estimated at approximately $296,000,000.
The next contract to be let, Segment 5, is the 2.6 miles from Paluxy Dr. eastward to SH 110, the Troup Hwy. TxDOT anticipates letting this contract in the spring of 2008.