Community Meets Over Dangerous Intersection - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


Community Meets Over Dangerous Intersection

       This week outside of Gilmer, 3 wrecks have happened in just 3 days at the intersection of Highway 271 and FM 726. The worst of those wrecks killed an elderly couple. Verl and Marion Hagler were turning onto 271 Monday night, right into the path of a pickup truck. Today, East Texans who live at the intersection took their concerns to TXDOT, hoping to prevent the road from taking more lives.

    "I came through here yesterday did not see an 18-wheeler crossing over almost got hit myself" said area resident Tina Denton.

    The memories of this week's deadly crash still in their minds, residents of West Mountain pleaded their case to TXDOT engineers to change the intersection before someone else gets hurt.

    "It was really upsetting to all of us" said area neighbor Sammie Hudspeth.

   Upsetting, but a familiar sight. Residents say speed and a blind hill at the intersection have caused dozens of wrecks over the years. The suggested speed for the area is 55 miles per hour but many of the drivers coming through are going 70 and 80 and that's the problem once they disappear into a blind spot on the intersection in a matter of seconds. At today's meeting, they hoped something would be done, but did not like the answer they got.

    "Currently we have under construction here acceleration and deceleration lanes being built od U-S 271 for traffic. And we are working in my office on plans to build left turn lanes" said TXDOT engineer Kenneth Williams.

 Although current work is underway, nothing addresses the hill and speed, leaving many feeling their concerns went unheard.

    "Well I've stood out here and I've heard the DPS and all to me it's just an excuse I think they need to cut the hill down and lower the speed limit" said Denton.

    To lower the limit, TXDOT says they need time to do a study and put together funds, and that could take years. Today, they simply asked folks to be careful until the problem is solved.

    "I'm really mad about it I think they need to hurry up before more people get killed" said Hudspeth.

   Residents are also petitioning state representatives and congressman Louie Gohmert to intervene on their behalf.

Bob Hallmark, Reporting 

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