MADISONVILLE TXDot has given the green light to change very busy exit ramps from Interstate- 45 at Highway 21 in Madisonville. City officials say it's congested and dangerous, so Monday night they're looking into some potential changes to fix the problem.
Being busy has its benefits and could reflect a positive sign of good economic times, but when it comes to traffic at the busiest intersection in Madisonville -- it's becoming more dangerous than ever before.
“Your accidents are pretty high here at this intersection, especially on holiday weekends and on Friday's -- it's gridlock,” said Madison County Sheriff Travis Neeley. “The city police department, they have to pull resources to try and get traffic to flow through here and without that, it's a mess.”
A series of major wrecks at the intersection of Highway 21 and Interstate 45 over the last year has fueled plans to make the area a safer route for drivers.
“City council, county commissioners court, all of your locals that drive through, just ask them; they shudder to drive through here come 5 o'clock Friday -- most of us that are local avoid the area,” Sheriff Neeley said.
Locals might be lucky enough to avoid the area at certain times, but city leaders say it's the out town drivers, who are unfamiliar with the roads, that are posing the biggest concern.
“It's very confusing,” said Madisonville Mayor Bill Parten. Most feeders are one way, but the one here is two-way.”
Mayor Parten says over the last few months County Commissioners have been working with TXDot to come up with a solution for a safer route. Blueprints are now in place to change the feeder roads on both sides of 45 and condense traffic from a two way direction-- down to one.
Bob Colwell says there has not been a date set to begin construction for the project. “We hope to let the project for construction sometime in Fiscal Year 2015. The entire cost of everything including the design, surveyors and construction is about $3-million,” said Colwell.
Colwell says no additional right-of-way will be needed for the project.
“We will make the frontages from US 190/SH21 headed south to Spur 67 a one-way. We will move the southbound exit to IH-45 further south and move the northbound entrance ramp onto IH-45 from US 190/SH 21 north. We will also add some new right hand turn lanes from the east frontage road of IH-45 onto US 190/SH 21. We have been involved in this project for about one-year,” said Colwell.
TXDot is footing the bill for the expansion project and city leaders believe once those plans are approved -- it will be a win-win for locals and those passing through.
“I hope they can make the flow of traffic easier on them so they get in, and get out, use the restaurants, merchants, and local businesses will benefit from them,” said Sheriff Neeley.
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