Safety Concerns Spur New Study of Traffic on U.S. 67

The Texas Department of Transportation is undertaking a 2-year long project on a major highway in West Texas.  The study will evaluate future needs for the major West Texas artery with input from people in the tri-county area.

TX Dot official Chris Weber says its common practice to evaluate roads. But part of what spurred the study of U.S. 67 is a concern for safety.

“There’s been 611 total crashes along this corridor. That’s one every four days average.”

Between 2010 and 2016, Weber says there were also 159 injuries and 14 fatalities along. U.S. 67. The highway is a 142 mile stretch that reaches from Presidio up to Interstate-10, just past Fort Stockton.  Traffic along this stretch has been boosted by tourism, cross-border trade, and oil field development among other things.

Right now, near the Shafter area, Weber says U.S. 67 sees some 1,800 vehicles per day.

Weber, who’s based in Alpine, adds there’s not a single solution to solve the traffic and safety concerns for the West Texas road.

“Unfortunately the problems we encounter with these type of thing are much more complex,” says Weber. “You’re dealing with driver behavior, driver awareness. Are they fatigued? Are they distracted by something in the vehicle – a cellphone, a child? Is it something outside the vehicle?”

In 2008, a separate study in the area looked at La Estrada Pacifico, analyzing the need for a four-lane highway. Ultimately, no changes happened from the study.

Weber says the current TxDOT study is in its initial phases, with officials gathering data. He says, there will be public meetings to gather input on the project. The first one is expected to happen in the spring of 2018.

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About Carlos Morales

Carlos Morales is Marfa Public Radio's News Director, Border and Immigration Reporter, and Morning Edition Host.
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