Meeting Set to Discuss Highway 6 Safety

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On Friday, TxDOT and DPS will meet to discuss driving safety on Highway 6 in south Brazos County. The meeting comes after the latest accident on that road, the six-car accident that killed four.

What may be one of the lone options would be to lower the speed limit 10 miles per hour, but that plan might not be feasible.

It's a much-travelled, much-talked about, much maligned stretch of Highway 6 now under construction.

"We believe that this will help solve the problem out there," said Bob Colwell, a spokesperson for TxDOT. "Unfortunately, it just takes time to build it, and money."

Around $103 million and five years will do that job, but for Darrell Harvey, who travels that stretch some eight times a day for his job as a driver for a Navasota car dealership, near misses have become common.

"I'm constantly very much aware of what's going on around me because I drive with almost an expectancy of something going wrong every trip," Harvey said.

Much like things went horribly wrong last Friday. This Friday, TxDOT and DPS will discuss a speed limit reduction, a step previously passed on by TxDOT.

"The reason that we haven't already done that is the construction is off to the side of the roadway," Colwell said. "We have had several requests that we lower the speed limit out there."

"Every 10 miles per hour you lower the speed limit would give you a much better chance and other people a better chance of surviving," Harvey said.

The catch is actually catching speeding drivers, a process that requires law enforcement. While they wanted to wait until they sat down with TxDOT Friday to make a firm determination, DPS officials Tuesday said they've already added more troopers to their Highway 6 patrols, but to add more -- something necessary for a lowering of the speed limit -- would likely pull personnel from patrols they can't afford to lose.

"It's going to do us no good to lower the speed limit if they're not going to drive the posted speed limit as it is right now," Colwell said. "One accident is too many accidents in our mind because safety is our number one priority."

In about a year-and-a-half, TxDOT will divert all traffic onto the newly-built frontage roads, where the speed limit will be 55. The move will be made to complete the construction, which is scheduled to be done in 2011.