Commissioner Gary Worley of Pct. 1 stated that he wanted to make the public aware of the changes happening on Thrill Hill and let residents as well as passersby know that he and his crews were attempting to make the area a safer place to travel.
Precinct 1 road crews have widened the roadway to 18-20 feet, with repair of pot holes and a new topping of fresh asphalt to the hill as well as a new speed hump. The hump is a 36-inch wide and 1.5-inch tall rubber hump, made of material from recycled tires, which is designed to slow traffic to between 15-20 mph, and hopefully get drivers’ attention before they travel down the steep grade of the hill.
“The bump has reflective material on top so you ought to be able to see it,” said Worley. “I know some people are going to squeal about the hump, but I would rather hear someone squeal about the hump than have a wreck happen.”
He explained the changes still coming in the near future to the Thrill Hill area.
“In addition to the speed hump, we will have two new speed bump signs, a solar powered flashing lights on the steep grade signs (which have been at the site), and one speed bump sign on the upside of the hill (ascending lane),” said Worley.
Many area residents, mainly younger ones, have traditionally enjoyed the thrill of traveling the steep drop of “Thrill Hill,” and a few over the years have even sped down the hill, coming to a stop on the golf course at the base of the hill.
There are also groups that run the hills in the area for cross country training, such as Brownwood High School students. Others will take early morning walks up the hill. With the steep grade of the hill, it is difficult to see what is coming up or down the hill so reduction of speed will make it a safer road to travel whether on foot or in a passing vehicle.
“Our main concern is that you can’t see as you begin to travel up or down the hill,” said Worley.
In the past, the hill has had pot holes and deterioration of the edge of the roadway, which tended to cause drivers to travel more toward the center of the older roadway. The roadway was narrow, just barely wide enough for two cars to pass each other as they traveled the hillside. This created a dangerous situation according to Worley because cars traveling in both directions have to meet somewhere in the middle of the hill.
“I don’t know that it is any less ‘thrilling,’ but I know now that two cars can pass each other without hitting mirrors,” said Worley. He said that crews will stripe the hill after the seal coat has been placed on the roadway, which along with the widening of the roadway, should help people to maintain their lane of traffic.
The improvement project stretches approximately 1/10 of a mile, according to Precinct 1 foreman Jimmy Robbins. Worley stated that he expects the cost of the project to be between $20,000-25,000 when completed and approximately 140 yards of asphalt was used during the process.
Pictured above are (from left to right): Simon Armendarez, foreman Jimmy Robbins, Shane Moody and Toby Madson.