The bicycling community appears well on its way to raising money to pay for safety improvements along Toll 49 as part of an agreement with the North East Texas Regional Mobility Authority.
Last month, the authority's board voted to allow bicycle access on Segments 1, 2 and 5, a 10-mile stretch connecting Texas Highway 155 near Noonday to Texas Highway 110 near Whitehouse.
Bicycles are prohibited on Segments 3A and 3B, from Texas Highway 155 to Interstate 20.
The vote and subsequent agreement was contingent upon the bicycling community funding the total cost of safety improvements, including striping and signs, along the three segments by the board's July meeting. The cost for striping a 4-foot wide bicycle lane near the outside edge of Toll 49's shoulder and signage was estimated at $60,000 by NETRMA staff.
Tyler Simpson, owner of Simpson's Fitness and Adventure Sports, said bicyclists have $17,000 in the bank and a pledge for a $30,000 matching donation if the group can raise the initial $30,000.
"We're ahead of schedule, and things are looking positive," he said.
Simpson said he and other individuals representing cyclists are actively seeking donations.
Spokeswoman Erin Lavender said the authority has had several conversations with members of the bicycling community, including Simpson, and is waiting for more information from them about their fundraising efforts.