Despite Improvements, Highway Still Presents Hazards

By: Kristen Ross Email
By: Kristen Ross Email

It's a stretch of highway known for its wrecks, and this weekend it added one more.

One teen was killed and four others injured when a car and van collided near an undivided portion of Highway 6 south and FM 159.

According to DPS the car and a van partially hit head on.

The driver of that van Alex James Kirk,18, of Katy died at the College Station Medical Center.

The four people inside the car were taken to the Med. Three of the victims are listed in stable condition, and another has been treated and released.

It's this very same highway that just two years ago claimed the lives of three local teens and a Deer Park man.

Despite improvements made to the roadway, it can still be a dangerous ride. One of the major problems is driver inattention. For example, speed detector signs warn motorists that the speed limit through the construction zone is just 55 mph, but the Texas Department of Transportation say the average speed in the area is around 64 mph.

Something that makes an already dangerous road, that much more treacherous.

"It's just way too easy to drift across the center line," Parent Randall Pitcock said.

It's a road whose reputation proceeds itself, and one Randall Pitcock tells his kids to avoid at all costs.

"We've lost good kids out that way, a lot of folks have lost their lives out that way," Pitcock said.

Over the past two years a lot has been done to make this stretch of highway safer.

Construction crews are working on widening the roadway and putting in a median, and the speed limit has been lowered from 70 to 55 miles per hour.

All things that are making a difference.

"Back in 06 there were 92 accidents on Highway 6 south, and in 07 only 52, and so far this year only 37." DPS Trooper Charles Booker said.

But it's a difference that doesn't make sites like Sunday's fatal wreck that killed a Katy teen any bit easier.

"Right now there's no shoulders, that extra bit of pavement gives you a little more room to react," Booker said.

So that's exactly what TxDOT is working on to give motorists more room.

However, they've still got about a year and half left of work to do and until then they're relying on drivers to heed the warning signs.

"There's speed detectors on both ends of the project and you can see vehicles when they go by---like it said I was going 54, and the car next to me was going 68," Bob Colwell with TxDOT said.

So for now Pitcock says it's a risk he doesn't want his kids taking.

"I tell them to go Wellborn Rd. take Wellborn until you get around to the other side--and that helps me anyway," Pitcock said.

DPS officials say some of the top contributing factors to accidents in the area are drivers talking on the phone, texting, emailing, falling asleep at the wheel, or over correcting their vehicle.

The construction project on Highway 6 is expected to be completed by Spring 2010.

KBTX-TV Channel 3 4141 E. 29th Street Bryan, TX 77802 Phone: (979) 846-7777 Fax: (979) 846-1490 News Fax: (979) 846-1888
Copyright © 2002-2015 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 28031744 -
Gray Television, Inc.