In the late 1960s, the Texas Highway Department, now known as the State Department of Highways and Public Transportation, (SDHPT) initiated a plan to reconstruct a portion of US 259 in Morris County, Between FM 144, north of Omaha, Texas, and the Bowie County Line. Reconstruction of this highway section would complete modernization of US 259 and provide a major connection with Interstate 30. The existing highway was to be reconstructed to modern design standards with improvements to vertical alignment and pavement structure. A modern two-lane roadway with 8 ft. surfaced shoulders and a 4 ft. flush median is to be provided. In March of 1971 a Negative Environmental Declaration for the project was approved and a Notice of Opportunity for Public Hearing was distributed and published. A Public Hearing was held on September 16, 1971. All work on the project was suspended in 1975 due to cash flow problems affecting the SDHPT and the project was not included in the Twenty Year plan. The project was re-activated in 1986 and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) project authorization process was completed in 1987. The project was processed as a categorical exclusion, an action consistant with the status of the undertaking as a reconstruction job. In the 1960s, when the project was initiated, there was no provision for on-site cultural resource surveys on projects of this type. It has been determined that an on-site cultural resources survey of the project area was not performed and coordination with the State Historic Preservation Officer, not required at the time of the Negative Environmental Declaration, had not been initiated. The project was let to contract in May of 1987.
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