TXDOT pursuing limiting trucks to right lane through construction zone; traffic study complete
TXDOT just finished a traffic study of the Salado project, according to Jodi Wheatley, Public Information Officer for the I-35 in the Waco District.
According to Wheatley, TXDOT may limit trucks to one lane, even when there are only two travel lanes. “In the last legislative session, an amendment was made to the law forbidding the restriction of trucks from a travel lane in areas where there are less than three lanes available,” Wheatley told Salado Village Voice in response to an earlier query this week.
“A lane restriction can now be approved in a work zone if it is deemed to be necessary to improve safety,” she stated. “The requirements for applying for a work-zone lane restriction included conducting a traffic study, which includes research into several areas of the vehicle types, roadway, etc.”
The study, according to Wheatley, has been sent to TXDOT Traffic Operations Division for review. From there, it goes to TXDOT Administration.
“ Once it is approved, a change order must be negotiated with the project contractor, and after that is approved, the appropriate signs must be ordered and constructed,” Wheatley stated. “Once the signs are posted in the work zone, the restriction can be enforced.”
“We expect a quick initial approval process, but the negotiation, construction and posting of the signs could take several weeks,” she added. “We will endeavor to complete the process as quickly as possible.”
Wheatley said that TXDOT has taken several steps to enhance safety in this section: lowering the speed limit, additional speed-limit signs mounted with a wide red border, speed-check trailers and an end-of-queue warning system.
“This system has helped prevent serious crashes and fatalities in those conditions,” she said.
Earlier this week, James Construction repaired cracked pavement, move barrier sections to lessen some curvature of the lanes, and paint new stripes to help traffic move away from the barriers and stay within the appropriate lanes.
“We continue to look for more ways to improve safety,” she said. “We have begun using portable message signs on each end of Salado to warn drivers to slow down before entering the construction area and, when conditions dictate, to slow down on wet pavement.”
She added: “We ask drivers to exercise patience and accept their responsibility to drive safely through this area.”