Small town Texas business has mixed feelings about a new interstate

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MADISONVILLE, Tx. (GrayDC) -- A new interstate may be coming your way. Interstate 14 is America’s newest interstate. It would connect Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi, with hopes of it stretching all the way to the Georgia coast. It’s only partially complete in Texas. One Madisonville business owner along the route has concerns.

The Mule Barn Boutique is located in the heart of downtown Madisonville. If the I-14 proposed route is approved, the Texas Department of Transportation said the interstate will route traffic around the town to reduce congestion. (Source: Gray DC)

“We’re called the best little boot house in Texas,” said Nancy Gilmore, the owner of the Mule Barn Boutique.

Nancy Gilmore owns the Mule Barn Boutique in the center of downtown Madisonville, specializing in custom-made Texas boots.

Most of Gilmore’s customers come from across Texas or happen upon her shop driving through the center of town.

The Texas Department of Transportation says if the I-14 plan is approved, the interstate will route traffic around Madisonville to reduce congestion.

“All of the major thoroughfares would miss this area,” said Gilmore.

Joseph Kane, a Senior Research Associate at the Brookings Institution, says anytime a new highway is constructed, residents and businesses like Gilmore’s will have to adapt.

“Economically for the community, we think of property values, we think of congestion, very different spillover effects from the highway…social considerations, health considerations,” said Kane.

Gilmore says despite her concerns, she is confident she will be able to drum up boot business at the at the Mule Barn Boutique, making her shop a destination for travelers rather than just a stop along the way.

“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.

The state of Texas already completed 25 miles of Interstate 14 in Central Texas in 2017. I spoke with Texas Department of Transportation. They tell me they will work with communities and officials to expand the interstate further.

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