TYLER, Texas (KETK) – The Smith County Commissioners Court called for a $45 million bond election to help upgrade the county’s road and bridge system.
The bond will be on the ballot for voters Nov. 2 and is expected to help improve 283 miles of roads over the next three years.
This would be Phase 2 of the bond project. Phase 1 of the bond, worth $39.5 million, was approved in November 2017 by 73% of voters. By the end of that phase in 2022, more than 250 miles of road will be constructed or repaved.
With the previous bond, the county was able to reconstruct and repave as many road miles as they had in the entire last decade, according to a release from the county.
If approved by voters, Smith County taxes would increase by 0.76 of a penny, resulting in approximately $15 more per year in taxes for the owner of a $200,000 home. The bond should be paid off in about 20 years, but could be sooner.
What kind of work is included in the bond?
Phase 2 of the bond includes three major categories: reconstruction, base stabilization and overlay projects.
The county said that in response to community feedback, they added roads to the list of projects and upgraded the anticipated work to be done.
To make sure that all roads on the list are completed in the second phase, Smith County Judge Nathaniel Moran said the county plans to contribute another $11 million in cash so that a total of $56 million of projects can be completed in Phase 2.
This brings the total road miles either repaved or reconstructed in Phase 1 and Phase 2 to nearly 500.
Which roads will see improvements?
Smith County Engineer Frank Davis gave a presentation to Commissioners Court on Aug. 3 about the proposed plans.
Davis worked with community input to add or upgrade road projects or move them up the schedule. He adds that even if the bond passes, these projects are fluid and subject to change depending on road conditions.
Here is a breakdown of the current road miles for each precinct:
- Precinct 1 includes Flint, Noonday and Bullard and has 296 miles of roads. There are 68 miles of overlay/reconstruction work planned for Phase 2, while 55 miles of roads were improved in Phase 1.
- Precinct 2 includes Whitehouse, Troup and Arp and has 219 miles of roads. There are 46 miles of overlay/reconstruction work planned for Phase 2, while 42 miles of roads were improved in Phase 1.
- Precinct 3 includes Lindale and Winona and has 510 miles of roads. There are 138 miles of overlay/reconstruction work planned for Phase 2, while 63 miles of roads were improved in Phase 1.
- Precinct 4 is in the northwest part of the county and includes mostly the city of Tyler, and 144 miles of county roads. There are 31 miles of overlay/reconstruction work planned for Phase 2, while 39 miles of roads were improved in Phase 1.
How did they decide which roads should get work?
Smith County officials held five citizen’s meetings in July to discuss the second phase of the road and bridge improvement project.
These meetings were attended by a collective total of 140 people. Citizen feedback was requested from residents both at meetings and online.
There is still a place for people to give their input on the Smith County website.