Coping with 59 construction for better roadways

By Holley Nees - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Better roadways are in the works through the Highway 59 project, but in the meantime East Texans are forced to deal with the construction.

The 59 roadwork means an increase in traffic for drivers and more wrecks where the detours are. The police department said the problem is a narrowing in the number and size of the lanes.

Accidents at intersections around Chesnut and Harmony Hill have increased since detour signs have gone up.

"With the increase construction there's been an increase in accidents. Problem is it's causing the traffic flow to slow down, but individuals out there [aren't] slowing down, [aren't] paying attention to the warning signs, [aren't] paying attention to speed limit signs," said David Garza with the Lufkin Police Department's Traffic Division.

The Texas Department of Transportation said construction may not always be convenient, but it has to happen to keep the roadways up to par.

"Construction is an item that does cause concern, but we do try to keep the same number of traffic lanes open while we're constructing it, and that does cause some of the problems," said TxDot Deputy Executive Director Steven Simmons.

He said 59 especially is an important part of the state as a whole.

"It's important because we've got a growing state, you have to get the people moving across the state and we have to get freight and things of that nature moving also," Simmons said.

For now, detours will be in place and drivers need to be extra careful as they pull out and cross traffic at the detour intersections.

However, Garza said when the construction is finished it will be a better place to drive with hopefully less accidents.

"They should go down once the construction over because we'll have better road system, more lanes and it'll compensate for the increased traffic," Garza said.

Also, northbound motorists on U.S. 59 wanting to get on the loop may be required to go all the way to the traffic signal at Chestnut drive. This is in addition to the closure of the southbound ramp, which also happens starting Thursday.

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