TxDOT responds to public pressure about speed limits

TxDOT responds to public pressure about speed limits

By Kathi Bliss

Editor/POST-REGISTER

 

Although the state’s transportation giant will not commit to a position, they did announce on Thursday that they have begun the process of considering a permanent speed limit for US Highway 183. The statement was among the first official comments from th the Texas Department of Transportation regarding US Highway and SH-130, and though they finally said something, the traffic agency did not shed much light on their policies, procedures or positions.

TxDOT has fallen under heavy fire over the last several months, based on a controversial decision to lower the speed limit on US Highway 183 to 50 – 55 miles per hour through Caldwell County – specifically over the sections of the road that are now under the maintenance agreement with the SH-130 Concession Company and being referred to as the “service road” for the SH-130 toll road.

Local commuters were outraged last year when they discovered that, although the toll way has one of the fastest speed limits in the nation, the limit on the free, taxpayer-funded US Highway 183 had been reduced from 65 miles per hour to 50 – 55 miles per hour, and that the reduction was expected to be permanent.

Originally, TxDOT had indicated that the lower limit would be only for the duration of the construction of SH-130.

In a written statement released Thursday, TxDOT representatives said that it is “usual practice to provide time for drivers to become accustomed to a new roadway configuration before a permanent speed limit is set.”

That period of time, TxDOT said, is ongoing.

“The use of sound engineering principles enables the department to provide a balanced transportation system that gets motorists to their destination as safely and as quickly as possible,” said Phil Wilson, TxDOT executive director.

While TxDOT confirmed it was “gathering data to set permanent speed limits,” no indication was given that the traffic authority has an intention of increasing the speed limit to its pre-construction rate.

Wilson offered gave no promise that traffic signals would be removed from the stretch of US Highway 183 – another thorn in the side of local commuters, who remember all too well the promise from TxDOT and SH130 Concession that traffic would “not be impeded” on Highway 183 in response to early questions about the possible installation of traffic signals.

Thursday’s release, however, suggested that the traffic signals are here to stay.

“Just as TxDOT is providing for safe passage along US 183, it is also monitoring traffic patterns as drivers get used to the new signals,” the release said.

In short, before the tollway was built, commuters were promised that their commute would not be affected by the tollway. Now, however, as more and more promises are broken, commuters become more and more convinced that the intent is to “force” traffic off the taxpayer-funded road and on to the toll-way.

kathibliss@post-register.com

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4 Comments

  1. Jesse Bertram says:

    Kathy can you please start including the number or email address that the commuting public can contact TXDOT at to direct there concerns and opinions to at the bottom of each 130 article? I remember them saying somewhere they have not recieved many concerns or complaints especially during this test period. That Cedarpark had the same concerns and they adjusted just fine without any problems to there “safety” adjustments. That drives me nuts. WE ARE NOT CEDAR PARK! Just compair the median households and home values. We are not a bedroom community. Thanks

  2. Jesse Bertram says:

    This was my complaint to TXDOT. PLEASE IF YOU HAVE ANY CONCERNS OF YOUR OWN PLEASE EMAIL IT TO THEM.THE PROCESS IS VERY EASY ON THE TXDOT WEB SITE. IF WE DONT USE OUR VOICE AS A COMMUNITY WE LOSE IT! “I remember you TXDOT ( I believe it was a official TXDOT represenative response to a Toll 130 post on facebook) saying somewhere they have not recieved many concerns or complaints especially during this test period. That Cedarpark had the same concerns and they adjusted just fine without any problems to there “safety” adjustments. That drives me nuts. WE ARE NOT CEDAR PARK! Just compare the median household incomes and home values. We are not a bedroom community. We are a very low income community/county as a whole. Your road is fine but my issue is how bad you lied to our community about not effecting or all out ruining of our commute with the speed limits on Hwy 183 from Lockhart to Austin. I understand you are calling it a frontage road to justify slamming us with a 50 mph speed limit and having us yeld to people exiting the toll road. YOU DROPPED IT FROM 60 OR 65 ALL THE WAY DOWN. You didnt improve our highway , you took it away completly and gave us a frontage. Why? Why did you lie to us? Why did you take our highway away? Also causing the danger to increase from there being a 35mph speed differental between vehicles exiting the toll and cars on the frontage/new 183.How do you explain that as keeping it safe? The commute times and danger have both increased for all of our community that have to use/choose 183. You told our politicians and whole community in public and private meetings our commute would not be effected with the changes prior to you building. Also you sold us on it would increase our traffic volume and tourist to our downtown and BBQ`s that was a lie. If you try to come into Lockhart on S 183 its flat out dangerous especially if you have never traveled that section by taking a entire hwy 183 4 lane highway straight shot into and out of Lockhart straight to and from all of our downtown and BBQ`s. Now it is cut to only one lane tied right to a 130 toll exit. There are no signs on the 183 section telling you have to follow this one path to Lockhart. If you arnt from here you cant tell, how does that help the tourist? What are you going to do about all of this? Are you going to fix the speed limits on OUR FRONTAGE RD 183? OR are there any plans to build us our own New highway 183 to replace the one you took from us and turned into a frontage road? Thank you for your time and I eagerly await your reply to share with our community.”

    • Scott says:

      Jesse, this is just another example of a large bureaucratic organization working against constituents and not for them.

      We are not school children we are working adults trying to make a living where the distance to our places of employment are long.

      We do not need extended periods of time to “adjust” to the roads.

      We are taxpayers who abide by the laws in place.

      We need the former speed limit back in place and the stop lights permanently removed, immediately.

      Frustration is building and the trolls over at DMV are not interested nor do they care about you and I, the daily commuter.

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