ABILENE, Texas - There have been 49 accidents along Buffalo Gap Road between South Danville Drive and Rebecca Lane so far this year, but a proposed construction project aims to fix the congestion and improve safety at what the Abilene Police Department calls one of the most dangerous intersections in the city.
"We've had it in the works for a while now,” said Andrew Carlson with the Texas Department of Transportation. “[We plan] to widen Buffalo Gap in front of the mall area between Winters and Rebecca to widen it to six lanes, and also add a raised center median."
TxDOT says 35,000 cars travel through the intersection daily.
"Wylie ISD is growing in population every year and the main thoroughfare between central Abilene and Wylie areas is Buffalo Gap Road and so traffic is forecasted to double in the next 20 years so we really feel like we need to do something to stay ahead of the game right now," Carlson said.
With growth, comes traffic. More traffic means more accidents, according to APD.
"Most of those accidents are right-of-way accidents where people go right through the light or they turn when they're not supposed to," said Sgt. Lynn Beard with APD.
Beard says distracted driving and trying to beat lights are also to blame for increased accidents in the area.
"Number one, don’t text and drive. Distracted driving is a significant contributing factor to any accident; and then follow the lights. Don’t try to get through there. A lot of people are in a hurry, just remember another 30 seconds or a minute isn’t going to delay you very much," Beard said.
Widening the road would cut down on congestion and adding a raised median would help decrease right-of-way accidents.
"Reducing the number of conflict points, as we call them, so you don't have cars, you know, cutting in and out in front of each other," Carlson.
"Anything that regulates, just by physical design, how to turn left and when [to turn] will cut down on accidents,” Beard said.
Once funding is available, TxDOT says they'd like to begin construction in 2019. The project is expected to take three years to complete.
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