US 79 Leon County (Jewett to Buffalo)
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US 79 Leon County (Jewett to Buffalo)

The TxDOT Bryan District is developing plans to widen US 79 from west of IH 45 (Buffalo) to the west of FM 1512 (near Jewett) in Leon County, Texas. The project is needed because of anticipated population growth, a high percentage of heavy truck traffic through Jewett, increasing crash rates along US 79 over the last five years, high pedestrian traffic through Jewett during Flea Market weekends, operation concerns associated with an at-grade, ground level railroad crossing at Nucor, and lack of bicycle/pedestrian accommodations within Jewett. The purpose of the proposed project is to enhance safety, improve mobility, and provide added capacity for future traffic. Additional right-of-way would be required.

US 79 is an undivided rural roadway with a 12-ft travel lane in each direction bounded by 10-ft paved shoulders and open ditches. The existing right of way of US 79 is 100-ft wide. Southwest of Jewett, US 79 has entrance and exit ramps for the FM 39 intersection. In Jewett, US 79 consists of two 12-ft travel lanes with 10-ft outside shoulders and a 14-ft center turn lane.

The proposed project evaluated two alternatives: the Existing Corridor Alternative and the Relief Route Alternative. Both alternatives provide for pedestrian and bicycle improvements through Jewett.

The Relief Route Concept was presented at the US 79 Public Meeting held on April 11, 2019. This alternative extended approximately 11 miles along US 79 from west of IH 45 near Buffalo towards Jewett, then transitioned onto a new location route around Jewett to the west, and then connected back to US 79 just west of FM 1512. Based on public comments received, TxDOT added a US 79 Relief Route Alternative Study with a corresponding study area that extended around the north side of the City of Jewett.

The Existing Corridor Alternative was presented at the US 79 Public Meeting held on May 24, 2023. The Existing Corridor Alternative follows US 79 for the entire length and extends approximately 10 miles from west of IH 45 near Buffalo to west of FM 1512. The Existing Corridor Alternative widens the pavement through Jewett from three (3) lanes to five (5) lanes—two 12-ft travel lanes in each direction with a 16-ft two-way center turn lane and added a curb and gutter with a 10-ft shared use path on both sides of the roadway. The proposed section in Jewett would fit within the existing 100-ft right of way. The proposed Existing Corridor Alternative in rural areas would widen US 79 from two (2) lanes to four (4) lanes—two 12-ft travel lanes with 10-ft outside and 4-ft inside shoulders in each direction separated by a grass median. The Existing Corridor Alternative incorporates intersection improvements, including the intersection at FM 39.

The Existing Corridor Alternative was selected as the best option.

Currently the TxDOT Bryan District is managing the planning, schematic, and environmental work in collaboration with consultants. TxDOT Right-of-Way project managers are coordinating the efforts for right-of-way acquisition of some properties. Relocation assistance will be available for displaced persons and businesses.

Information about the TxDOT Relocation Assistance Program, services and benefits for those displaced, and other affected property owners, as well as information about the schedule for the right-of-way acquisition and construction, can be obtained from the TxDOT district office by calling 979-218-2873.

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