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Weekly Roadwork Report

MORE THAN 79,000 DEAD ON TEXAS ROADS. IT’S TIME TO CARE.

November 7, 2000, was the last deathless day on Texas roadways.

The cell phone video from Easter Sunday shows the convertible Chevy Corvette going 110 mph on Dumas Highway in Amarillo.

“Joey! Chill, bro!” is what the passenger, Dyego Mendoza, shouted over the roaring engine. But it was too late. The car flipped and rolled for several hundred feet before it flew across a highway below, slammed into the side of an overpass, and slid down the embankment.

In the video just before the horrific crash, David Elizalde’s 17-year-old daughter, Andrea, sits on the center console between the two front seats. She was not wearing a seatbelt.

The crash scene along Dumas Highway was gruesome. Andrea’s Corvette was in pieces, scattered everywhere. The only part of the car that remained intact flattened.

“We pulled up to a car unrecognizable,” said Amarillo Firefighter Brenton Goerend. “You couldn’t tell what it was. It wasn’t good. We couldn’t find the third person, so we started looking underneath the car.”

Mendoza and the driver survived. Andrea died at the scene, making her one of more than 79,000 people killed on Texas roads since November 7, 2000.

“It’s not OK to drink and drive,” Elizalde said. “It’s not OK as a father to go through the death of your daughter at the hands of people drinking and driving.”

The wreckage of Andrea’s car will provide the backdrop for Elizalde, who will be a guest speaker during an #EndTheStreakTX press event in Amarillo on November 16.

Background

November 7, Texas, marks 22 years of daily deaths on our roadways, with more than 79,000 innocent lives lost to preventable fatal crashes. About ten people have died daily in crashes across the state for the past several years.

In the Atlanta District, 134 people died in crashes in 2021. The leading causes of those fatal crashes were unsafe speed, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and distracted driving.

For the first time in the agency’s history of analyzing fatal crashes, experts spoke with a psychology professor to dig deeper into driver behavior. In an interview, Dr. Art Markman from the University of Texas alluded to an erosion of community that can be a cause for an increase in traffic fatalities.

“We must remind people that they are part of a community,” Markman said. “We have to start considering everyone as part of our community. If we don’t do that, there are going to be all sorts of negative consequences, and those are going to include negative consequences on the road.”

Texas Transportation Commissioner Laura Ryan, a champion for road safety and TxDOT’s #EndTheStreakTX campaign, said every Texan must do their part. And while the goal of ending the deadly streak is ambitious, Ryan said, it is far from impossible, but we must start to care about others around us.

“With the knowledge that, since the pandemic, people don’t seem to view others around them as part of a community and that they care less about those around them, we are starting to identify the problem,” said Ryan. “If we know of a problem and identify that a big part of the problem is a lack of caring or apathy, then we also know the solution. We must care more about those around us.”

Solutions

Drivers have the power to protect themselves, their passengers, and fellow community members because most crashes and fatalities are preventable and caused by things such as speeding, drunk driving, and distracted driving. That’s why the approach to reaching zero deaths must be through what TxDOT calls the 3 E’s: engineering, education, and enforcement. We all have a responsibility to keep our roads and fellow drivers safe.

TxDOT is asking all Texans to do any or all of the following to raise awareness:   

  • Make the best and safest decisions behind the wheel, and don’t drive under the influence of alcohol and drugs. Always obey traffic laws; always wear your seatbelt.
  • Post pictures on social media with this downloadable sign displaying the hashtag #EndTheStreakTX.
  • Share personal stories of loved ones lost in a crash on social media and use the hashtag #EndTheStreakTX.
  • Follow @txdot social media pages and share the content we post.

TxDOT Paris District

October 23 – October 29, 2022

Hopkins, Franklin Counties

Contacts: Sulphur Springs Area Office (903) 885-9514; Franklin Co. Maintenance (903) 537-4976; Hopkins Co. Maintenance (903) 885-4031.

FM 1536, Hopkins County: from SH 19 to FM 71. Watch for lane closures and short delays as crews rehabilitate the roadway.

TxDOT Atlanta District

October 23 – October 29, 2022

Bowie County 

  • I-30 – From FM 989 to AR State Line, reconstructing and widening the highway, concrete paving in median
  • I-30 – From FM 989 to FM 3419, an extension of frontage roads
  • I-30 – Westbound at Exit 207/Spur 594, ramp rehabilitation. Exit & entrance ramps are closed, restricting westbound lanes to one lane.
  • I-30 – Eastbound from Spur 74, drainage upgrades, with traffic limited to one lane in some areas. 
  • SH 8 – At Sulphur River, replacing bridges
  • SH 98 – At Anderson Creek, bridge replacement, with traffic restricted to one lane with signal lights controlling traffic through the work zone.

Camp County 

  • SL 255 – From FM 1520 to US 271, constructing a highway, with County Road 2120 detoured.

 Cass County

  • SH 8 – At Sulphur River, replacing bridges
  • US 67 – Widening bridge at Jennings Slough, signal lights controlling one-way traffic

  Harrison County 

  • I-20 – At US 59 overpass, replacing the bridge with US 59’s traffic shifted to southbound lanes.
  • I-20 – Concrete pavement repairs. Daytime lane closures
  • I-20 – Bridge maintenance. Lane closures on the north frontage road at Mason Creek
  • I-20 – At Lansing Switch Road, constructing a new bridge over the interstate
  • SH 43 – At Kansas City Southern Railroad, crews in Karnack are widening the bridge over the railroad, with signal lights controlling one-way traffic.
  • US 80 – From Loop 390 to Interstate 20, resurfacing highway.
  • Cider Lane, Hallsville – From US 80 to Cal Young Road, constructing pedestrian ramps & shared use path
  • US 80 – At Industrial Drive, median construction at the railroad crossing, with traffic reduced to one lane in each direction
  • FM 3001 – At Little Cypress Bayou Relief. Replacing bridge. Daily lane closures

 Panola County 

  • US 59 (Loop) – Rehabilitating highway from Business 59 North of Carthage to US 79 East. US 79 traffic shifted to SB lanes at US 59 Loop. US 59 Loop NB exit ramp closed. 
  • CR 224 – At Irons Bayou, replacing the bridge, closed to traffic.
  • US 59 – From Harrison County line to Loop 149, installing safety barrier cable. Daily lane closures

 Titus County

  • SH 49 – From Business 271 to Mount Pleasant city limits, repairing and resurfacing highway, one-lane, two-way traffic
  • US 271 – At Dickson Creek, Big Slough Creek, White Oak Creek & White Oak Creek Relief, replacing bridges 

  Upshur County 

  • US 271 – From 5.9 miles north of SH 155 to 1.5 miles north of SH 155, resurfacing the road.
  • US 259 – From Meddlin Creek to .5 miles south of FM 450, resurfacing the road.