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TxDOT Has No Plans for Improving Highway 6 Between Hearne and Brazos County

An Austin teen is the latest casualty in a series of tragic accidents on Highway 6 near Hearne.

13-year-old Charles Rakin died Wednesday and four others were injured when two vehicles collided head on.

We've seen a number of deadly crashes in that same stretch of highway in recent years.

But are there any plans to make it safer?

News 3 spoke with the Texas Department of Transportation and at this point it doesn't look promising.

Around 18,700 vehicles pass through Highway 6 between Hearne and the Brazos County Line every day and every once in a while it seems that trip ends in a tragic result.

Much of the four lane roadway has either a small turning lane median or no median at all.

A crash on Wednesday was the latest in a long series of accidents along Highway 6 in Robertson County.

State Troopers say a Chevy Tahoe crossed into oncoming traffic hitting a Dodge Caravan just south of Hearne.

Bob Straswer knows how Highway 6 can be dangerous; his front driveway faces it a few miles to the south.

"It was a terrible feeling because there was nothing like I could do and he hit me head on," said Bob Strawser, Ph.D., a Robertson County resident.

Strawser luckily walked away from an accident in October of 2008 when a truck pulling a trailer hyrdroplaned as he waited to turn into his driveway.

"He must have been doing 70,75 and the trailer jackknifed, hit the side of my car, the truck ended up on the ditch on the other side the trailer ended up behind me here in the fence," he said.

Since his accident, News 3 covered another horrific crash that happened along the same area of Highway 6 when a dually pickup truck crossed into oncoming traffic hitting an 18-wheeler head on, killing the pickup driver.

After that TxDOT added what's called flexible delineators to the double yellow lines but that won't stop vehicles from crossing into oncoming lanes.

"At this time there are no projects to do anything to improve that area but like all fatalities we have here in the Bryan District we will review the accident reports and see if there's anything that we can do to improve the area," said Bob Colwell TxDOT Public Information Officer for the Bryan District.

Colwell says a lack of funding is part of the problem.

"A concrete barrier might be something that we look at that's permanent. We did have that on South Highway 6 for a long time before we got it widened so we're going to look at all options," Colwell said.

"I would love to see 'em extend the highway. I'd be glad to give up land for them to do it I'd like it to be wider with a much wider median," said Bob Strawser.

Since his accident Bob Strawser and his wife built a second entrance into their home so they can avoid turning into oncoming traffic on Highway 6.

Bob Colwell with TxDOT said it's unlikely the speed limit would ever be lowered in that area.

In fact the Legislature recently approved provisions for raising the limit to 75 in rural areas, which TxDOT will have to review on a case by case basis.

In 2008 TxDOT did make some safety improvements by adding traction to the highway to assist drivers in wet conditions and we're also told it limits mist from forming when rain starts falling on the road.

They've also installed rumble strips on the middle and shoulders of the road to alert drivers if they start drifting.


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