Brazos County sits smack dab in the center of Interstate 35 and Interstate 45. It's the largest metropolis area in the country without being on a major interstate highway...but that could soon change.
A 1600 mile highway project, Interstate 69 will connect Mexico, the United States and Canada. The initial route was to go through Conroe, but it would run right through a national forest. So an alternate route is being looked into, just 13 miles from Brazos County.
"This would be an opportunity for us that we didn't realize we would have. The original request was I69 would go from the border up north through to Texarkana -- right through the center of Houston." says John Happ, chairman of the transportation committee and says Bryan-College Station has always wanted an interstate access. "TXDOT is concerned about attainment area and taking more traffic into that busy area of houston."
According to Congressman Chet Edwards, it could do more than just alleviate traffic.
"Take advantage of the fact that Bryan College Station is suited between I-35 and I-45 -- somehow tie it into the future I-69 development. We could make the central location of Brazos Valley a key attraction and magnet for new jobs and growth rather than being a liability at this point." says Edwards.
As a future interstate, it will improve safety and mobility and provide an efficient movement of people and goods. Happ says an alternative could be expanding Highway 6...but that may cause more problems then it solves.
"Its gonna happen sooner or later and we just want to try and control that growth and control whrere it is. We think it's a great opportunity for us to grow yet still have what we have here today." says Happ.
TXDOT plans to start holding public meetings by the end of the summer.
Once completed, I-69 will extend from Port Huron, Michigan to the Texas/Mexico border.