Lufkin City Council considers upping speed limit on 59 South

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - By Holley Nees - email

LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - The Lufkin City Council will consider upping the speed limit on U.S. 59 South from 45 to 55 miles-per-hour, as the Texas Department of Transportation has suggested.

The speed limit change would be in effect from Loop 287 to just past College Drive, which is about a 2.25-mile stretch.

Another block of roadway in the area of Shirey Lane will be changed from 55 to 60 miles-per-hour.

The city council will consider a first reading of the ordinance on Tuesday. The item must pass two readings before it becomes a city ordinance.

According to a letter from Deputy City Manager Keith Wright, the proposed ordinance comes following a recommendation from TxDOT. The agency had conducted a speed limit study on that stretch of highway.

Cars zoom through U.S. 59 South. Most of them speeding.

"We were seeing a lot more complaints about the speed limit and things like that were taking place, but it was always originally our intent to go back and ask TxDOT to re-evaluate the speed limit once the construction was complete," Wright said.

Radar indicates nearly everyone is already going 55.

"If you have traffic that is really trying to go the speed limit and you have most of the traffic that is going faster, then you get some potential for accidents," Wright said.

Generally when TxDOT does a speed limit study, accident numbers are included, but since this area was under construction, those numbers are being left out.

East Texans have mixed feelings about the proposed change.

"The speed limit right now is too slow, even though it is right in front of and past the college," Guy Nedbalek said.

"It's hard enough at 45 miles an hour to merge with all that incoming traffic," Marvie Moore said.

"It's a pretty high-traffic area and there's no need in really going slow," Cory Norsworthy said.

"I have a child that goes to AC and another child that will be going there for the next two years, so I just don't recommend raising the limit," Tese Stone said.

"We do not recommend any student trying to cross those main lanes at 45, 55, no matter what the speed limit," Wright said. "There is pedestrian crossing down at Walmart over the bridge and that's where they need to cross if they're going to be walking."

"I think everybody always wants to get everywhere faster, but I don't think that an increase in 10 miles an hour for a mile will make a difference in the grand scheme of things," Shelby Armstrong said.

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