Construction set to begin on changes to SL 287 crossovers near M - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Construction set to begin on changes to SL 287 crossovers near MLK by Ellen Trout Zoo

Crossover at Holmes Smokehouse Food and Loop 287. (Source: KTRE Staff) Crossover at Holmes Smokehouse Food and Loop 287. (Source: KTRE Staff)
Crossover at MLK Drive and Loop 287 by Ellen Trout Zoo. (Source: KTRE) Staff Crossover at MLK Drive and Loop 287 by Ellen Trout Zoo. (Source: KTRE) Staff
Source: KTRE Staff Source: KTRE Staff
Crossover at MLK Drive and Loop 287 near Ellen Trout Zoo. (Source: KTRE Staff) Crossover at MLK Drive and Loop 287 near Ellen Trout Zoo. (Source: KTRE Staff)
LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) -

Construction will soon begin at a busy crossover in Lufkin, where numerous wrecks, including two fatal crashes, have occurred. Changes to the South Loop 287, near Martin Luther King Boulevard are expected soon.

Texas Department of Transportation said two intersections will transform into left turns only. The decision comes after TxDOT monitored numerous wrecks in the area. Two of the wrecks were fatal, and they happened just days apart in October 2016.

Russell Dickson, who owns the nearby Quality Restaurant Supply, described a problem he noticed at that particular area before changes were made.

"You would have people trying to cut over and cut out people coming across, and it was just a mess. Now it's only one way, and you don't have any cross traffic,” Dickson said.

TxDOT is familiar with this stretch of road and have said caution is needed.

"We look at the accident report and try to determine what we can do as an agency to make it a safer area and enhance the safety for the motorists,” said Rhonda Oaks, a public information officer with TxDOT.

Recently, the problem has grown beyond just caution. TxDOT has decided to create modified westbound left-turn-only sections at the crossovers at loop and MLK near Ellen Trout Zoo and at the second intersection by Holmes Smokehouse Food.

The crossover by the corporate offices of Brookshire Brothers and George H. Henderson Exposition Center will be permanently closed to traffic.

"I cannot tell you how many times we've heard the crash of an accident here in front of our corporate office including our own employees here at Brookshire Brothers,” said Sally Alvis, the marketing and public relations director with Brookshire Brothers.

 Although the closure will impact the grocery chain's business and their distribution trucks which travel on MLK onto the loop, the company said safety is a priority.

"This is just a minor inconvenience for them, but if it enhances safety for everyone, it is certainly well worth it,” Alvis said.

Funds from the TxDOT’s maintenance budget will help run the project. The agency said they hope to finish construction by late summer.

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