Bryan/College Station awaits Interstate 14 route options

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BRYAN, Tex. (KBTX) - The first interstate through the Brazos Valley continues to be on the drawing board.

Transportation leaders are still trying to figure out the best route but Interstate 14 could eventually connect West Texas to Georgia.

The final route is nowhere near being selected but local transportation leaders said they'd like for it to come through north Bryan generally following the Highway 6/U.S. 190 corridor and then along the east side of College Station towards Madisonville and Huntsville.

"We're one of the largest university cities that is not on or near an interstate. It'll develop many business opportunities that we don't see here today," said John Nichols, Bryan/College Station Chamber of Commerce Transportation Committee Chairman.

As Texas grows, transportation leaders are looking at the future needs of drivers, the military and freight shipping.

The local chamber of commerce has been advocating for the new interstate.

So far more than 20 miles of I-14 exists connecting the Copperas Cove area to Belton. But how long until it reaches here?

"10 to 20 years yes. But not in the next five years. The alignment study is just getting started and that'll take two or three years," said Nichols.

Nancy Gilmore owns the Mule Barn in Downtown Madisonville.
I-14 could potentially loop around downtown to reduce congestion.

"We could either move out on the loop or we could get signs out on the loop that has that much traffic to direct them into town," said Gilmore.

“We’re called the best little boot house in Texas," she added.

“Economically for the community, we think of property values, we think of congestion, very different spillover effects from the highway... Social considerations, health considerations," added Joseph Kane, Senior Research Associate with the Brooking Institution.

"It's a great opportunity. Some of us will be around to enjoy the access and we'll see a lot of development spurred when that does happen," said Nichols. "Particularly the intersections of Highway 6 and the loops around Bryan/College Station that occur in those days."

Another big piece still to come is appropriating the money to pay for it.

I-14 will cost billions of dollars to build.

Conservative estimates are as much as $20 million to $25 million per mile.

TxDOT will look at things like congested urban areas, cemeteries and environmentally sensitive areas as they study route options.