Parkway dedicated to Tyler native Earl Campbell

Thursday, August 30, 2012 - 11:57am

A new section of roadway extending from Loop 323 to SH155 was opened today in Tyler at a special ribbon cutting ceremony featuring football legend, and Tyler native, Earl Campbell.

“We are so proud that we could honor Earl Campbell in this way,” said Tyler Mayor Barbara Bass. “His legendary contributions are something the entire community can be proud of.”

Earl Campbell Parkway extends approximately two miles. There are four traffic lanes, two bike lanes, a raised landscaped median and sidewalks along the stretch of roadway. In addition, curb, gutter and a sidewalk were added along Old Noonday Road and the entire road was repaved as part of this project. A traffic signal was also added at Old Noonday Road and Earl Campbell Parkway.

The project began on August 20, 2010 and will open to traffic by 2 p.m. today, Aug. 30. The construction cost was $14,100,000, which was paid for in cash with Half Cent Sales Tax funding.

About 86,000 square yards of pavement was installed - this is enough to cover 13 football fields. The weight of the concrete is 43,500 tons, equivalent to the weight of 17,500 cars. About 15,300 square yards of sidewalk was installed - this is enough to cover 2 1/2 football fields. About 50,000 feet of curb was included as part of the project; equivalent to 9 1/2 miles of curb. About 59,000 feet, or 11 miles, of traffic striping was laid. Also, to beautify the corridor, 230 trees and hundreds of roses were planted.

“Earl Campbell has been an inspiration to the community because he has shown that with hard work and perseverance, anything is possible,” added Mayor Bass. “He has inspired the youth of this community to reach for their dreams.”

Background on the Tyler Rose - Earl Christian Campbell

Known as the “Tyler Rose,” Earl Christian Campbell was born on March 29, 1955, in Tyler, Texas, to Bert and Ann Campbell. Earl is the sixth of 11 children and growing up in Tyler, Texas, he attended Dogan Middle School, Moore Junior High School and John Tyler High School.

While in high school, Campbell played football under Corky Nelson and was acknowledged as an All-American Middle Linebacker. In his junior and senior years, Campbell started shining as a running back. During his senior season, he led his team, the John Tyler Lions, to the 1973 Texas State Championship. He was also named an All-American Running Back and rushed for more than 2,224 yards.

After high school, Campbell was heavily recruited by leading football programs. Ultimately he signed with the University of Texas under the leadership of Coach Royal. He received many honors while playing for Texas, however, the shining moment was being awarded the Heisman Trophy in 1977. This was the first time a University of Texas player had received the Heisman—and Campbell did it by rushing for 1,744 yards.

Campbell was a first round National Football League draft pick by the Houston Oilers in 1978. He was voted Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player in his first season. He then returned to the University of Texas to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in speech communication. While with the Oilers, Campbell became a legend.

In 1980, Campbell was traded to the New Orleans Saints and it was here that he finished his professional career. In 1986, he retired from the NFL with an astonishing career 9,407 yard rushing, 806 yards receiving, 74 touchdowns and 10,213 total yards.

In 1991, Campbell was inducted into the Hall of Fame. He is a prominent businessman and enjoys spending time with his wife Ruena Smith Campbell and his two sons, Earl Christian Campbell II and Tyler Christian Campbell.

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