The Texas Department of Transportation’s Tyler office let the construction contract for Segment 3A of Toll 49 to Longview Bridge and Road Ltd. for $37.9 million, $15 million less than TxDOT anticipated during planning.

After several years of funding through partnerships with local entities, the project was given the go-ahead in March when the Texas Transportation Commission awarded it nearly $38 million in funding from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act.

Local entities, including the city of Tyler, the Tyler Metropolitan Planning Organization, Smith County, and the North East Texas Regional Mobility Authority have contributed funding or engineering to the project.

The project, approximately 6-mi long, will extend the existing portions of Toll 49 west from SH 155 and connect to SH 31 west of Tyler. Construction will take about three years.

The same infusion of federal stimulus funding caused the NETRMA to begin discussions on bringing in additional money through bonds to design and build Segment 3B, a 10-mi segment that would pick up where Segment 3A ends and connect with IH-20.

In addition, the northern-most segment of Toll 49, known as the Lindale Relief Route, which stretches 6.7 mi between IH-20 and U.S. 69 north of Lindale, is awaiting final environmental clearances.

Segment 1 of Toll 49, between U.S. 69 and SH 155, opened in August 2006, followed by Segment 2, from U.S. 69 to FM 756 in December 2007.

In addition, the Tyler District received funding and approval to begin nine other projects in East Texas, bringing total funding allocated from the ARRA to more than $50 million.