Folks in Mineola will soon be able to zip to Pounds Regional Airport or to Tyler’s south side in record time, bypassing Lindale altogether.
Section 4 of Toll Road 49, a 6.7 two-lane stretch with a posted speed limit of 75 mph, is targeted for opening sometime between Nov. 1 and No. 8, according to Colleen Colby, communications director for the Northeast Texas Regional Mobility Authority (NET RMA).
“Things are looking good,” she said.
With the completion of Section 4, also called the Lindale Relief Route, Toll Road 49 will now link up with U.S. 69 just south of the Wood County line. Heading south, it will intersect with Interstate 20 and join the existing stretch of Toll 49, which goes past the airport before bending east around south Tyler to Texas 110. Driving that entire stretch of road will take 28 minutes, according to Colby.
Jason Ray of Mineola, a member of the NET RMA board of directors, said the new stretch of Toll Road 49 is constructed with safety in mind, including a flush median, rumble strips and additional widening. It should save considerable time for motorists going from Mineola to Tyler’s south side.
Section 4 carries a price tag of $126 million. Construction of Toll Road 49 was financed with bonds, which will be repaid through the tolls. The toll on Section 4 will be $1.89.
Along with making the trip to south Tyler quicker, the road also may be an impetus for economic growth in Mineola, according to Mercy Rushing, executive director of the Mineola Economic Development Corp.
“I think it’s going to be great for us, and it’s one of the reasons Sanderson Farms located here,” she said. The $36 million Mineola feed mill, expected to open in November, is part of a $200 million investment in the area by the nation’s third largest poultry producer.
Rushing said she believes the new leg of Toll Road 49 also could spur residential development in or around Mineola. Lindale already is filling up because of its proximity to Tyler, and she believes Mineola could be the next city to capture growth from Tyler’s expanding economy.
“I think some people will say, ‘Hey, we live on the south side of Tyler, instead of building a house in Lindale, we can use 49 that gets us to Mineola. So I think you will see some building around the outside perimeter,” she said.
She noted that land is less expensive in Wood County than in Smith County, and Mineola ISD taxes also are less than those in Lindale ISD. “Those factors will come into play,” she said.
Given the city’s proximity to major highways and its rail assets, “I think we’re positioned to really be a player in economic development and job growth,” Rushing stated. Even if Toll Road 49 only fuels residential growth, Rushing still sees benefits.
“I don’t have a problem to have people live in Mineola and work somewhere else, because when they live in Mineola they’re paying taxes, spending sales tax money and they’re investing into our community. Especially, if it’s families, it helps our school grow, which is better for us in the long run.”
A grand opening celebration for opening the Lindale Relief Route is set for Dec. 4 in Lindale.