Road renovation needed for Whiskey Bend area

By Bob Hallmark - bio | email

LONGVIEW,TX (KLTV) - After years of fatal crashes and countless injuries, an East Texas county is making plans to renovate a dangerous stretch of highway. A 15 mile run of highway between Longview and Easton has seen a high amount of multiple car crashes, most in a deadly area called whiskey bend. Tex-dot officials call it one of the most dangerous highways in the state.

"There's a lot of traffic , 30 to 40 thousand cars a day, and its just going to get worse," says Gregg County Judge Bill Stoudt.

Highway 149 in Gregg County has been plagued by horrific accidents over the years, including this memorial days crash killing two people. Between August 2008 and June 2009, six people died in crashes on "Whiskey Bend."

"That's the people that were killed it doesn't even include the people that survived," Stoudt says.

And locals know how dangerous it is.

"Oh we see a lot of them we had a head on collision on Memorial Day, this week during the rain a car went into the trees one got hooked on the guard rail," says Whiskey Bend area worker Liz Smith.

The county's answer is new funding and a 7 million dollar plan to fix the road.

"We started saving for capitol improvement projects about 5 years ago, we've got a substantial number of funds in there to do this type of project and it will not come out of the general fund," Stoudt says.

No taxes will be used, keeping taxpayers breathing easy, and those knowing the dangers of whiskey bend.

"Everybody on this road is in a rush and nobody wants to slow down, they're going to have to do something to fix this stretch of road," says Stoudt.

"What we need to do is traffic needs to be separated with a continuous turn lane, and increased lighting from the railroad tracks at Wal-Mart all the way around the curve at Whiskey Bend," adds Stoudt.

The proposal will come before Gregg County Commissioners Court on June 21st. If approved, bids for the project would be out in September.

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