TxDOT officials receiving input from Tuscola residents on how to make roads safe

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TUSCOLA, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) held a discussion about the “Y” Interchange at U.S. Highway 83/84, in south Taylor County, Monday evening.

The Abilene district was aiming to receive input on making that intersection safer for residents in that area.

The forum took place in the Jim Ned High School Library.

“We hear the ambulances and we hear the emergency vehicles on a regular basis, heading toward that intersection,” Tuscola business owner, Matt Smith said. “As of right now, we have what we have. The idea is hopefully, that TxDOT realizes that we’ve got a problem here and they’re going to change this intersection. Our feeling is, everytime we hear those sirens go off, has someone been killed there and most of the times, someone has been.”

Smith has been a Tuscola resident for the last eight years.

“We’ve seen a lot of these changes taken place. We’ve seen a lot of changes in the population increase, a lot of traffic increase, but we’re still on the same roads we had 8 years ago,” Smith said.

The growth along the highway has impacted the transportation.

“The road between Tuscola and that Y has been beaten down so hard, you put a little bit of moisture on it, it turns into a skating rink,” Smith said.

However, before any kind of road engineer steps on the pavement, TxDOT has been asking the public on what should be done next.

“I think the direction of the road is the number one key, change in the direction of the road. Of course, making it where it’s T-ing directly in, at a 90-degree angle, and if they’d rough the surface up,” Smith said.

While Smith believes this is an engineering issue, residents like Marilyn Faulkner believe the person behind the wheel should also take responsibility.

“I worry about texting and driving because I have to turn left off of 84 to get to my residence and I always worry about people rear-ending me, so I slow down and make sure I have nobody behind me,” Faulkner said. “I see problems with speeding and using the interchange incorrectly.”

She has been a Tuscola resident of more than 40 years, living about a mile away from the intersection.

“In fact, it’s our only way to get up to Abilene- to and from Abilene without going into Country or whatever,” Faulkner said.

“What the public has seen up to this point is the widening of U.S. 83/84 north and south. We’re adding acceleration and decceleration lanes, taking out some of those crossovers for safety and then at Remmington and Clark, we’re adding a passover bridge,” TxDOT public information officer for the Abilene District, Cheryl Sawyers said. “The bridge will continue U.S. 83/84 and allow the residents of Remmington and Clark to cross underneath it.”

Sawyers explained this is a project vision TxDOT has been invovling the public of the U.S. Highway 83/84 corridor since 2015.

“Residents in this area can probably see whatever solution we come up with tonight, and in the future meetings, in about 8 to 10 years,” Sawyers said.

Until then, folks like Smith and Faulkner will have to keep an eye out on the dangerous road that sits in close proximity of their homes.

Those who could not make Monday’s public meeting can still send written comments to Cheryl Sawyers’ email at cheryl.sawyers@txdot.gov. The comments must be postmarked by Friday, May 1, to be included in the public meeting documentation.

Roscoe residents will also have their chance to give input on a similar project in their area. TxDOT will be looking at improvements for the intersection of Interstate 20 and U.S. 84.

The forum will take place this Thursday, April 18 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Roscoe Collegiate High School Cafeteria.

The proposed project would potentially re-align a portion of I-20 main lanes and frontage roads, provide direct connections between I-20 and U.S. 84. and update ramp configurations along I-20.

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