I-20 Construction In Louisiana Causing Problems In Texas

Andrew Greenstein
December 07, 2018 - 11:00 am
Highway Traffic

© Radislava Olshevskaya | Dreamstime.com

Categories: 

MARSHALL (1080 KRLD) - One state's construction project is becoming our state's hassle.

A major construction project on I-20 just over the Louisiana state line is causing backups stretching all the way back into Texas.

Not only is it causing major delays, it's also causing many crashes.

"We've had 68 accidents as of today," says Lt. Jay Webb with the Harrison County Sheriff's Department, "including one fatality and several major injuries.

Topography is part of the problem.

"There is a small rise that blocks the view ahead of you," says Lt. Webb. "And as you get to the top of this rise and start heading down, that's where the backup typically is located."

And by the time some drivers notice, it's too late.

Last month, Jerry Averyt's daughter was involved in a serious crash inside that construction zone.

"A guy driving a U-Haul rental truck hit them from behind," Averyt says, "and I think the trooper estimated he might have been going as fast as 70 miles an hour."

And his daughter and granddaughter were seriously hurt.

"My daughter suffered four broken ribs (and) a couple of cracked vertebrae," Averyt says, "and my granddaughter suffered a broken left femur and also a broken left forearm."

Lt. Webb says TxDOT has already taken steps to address this problem.

"The Texas Department of Transportation has taken the 75 mile an hour speed limit on Interstate 20 and reduced it to 65 miles an hour through this location," Webb says.

But Averyt says that's proving to be insufficient.

"Whatever they're doing in terms of precautionary measures are simply not working," Averyt says.

Webb agrees and says they're working to lower the speed limit even further.

"We are attempting to lower the speed limit to 60 miles an hour," Webb says.

No matter how low they drop the speed limit, drivers still need to use extra caution approaching Louisiana on I-20 for the foreseeable future, because the work is not ending anytime soon.

"We anticipate this to continue until at least in June on the eastbound lanes of Interstate 20," Webb says.

And the worst part -- there's no easy way to get around that construction zone.