New speed limit in effect on U.S. 183 in Lockhart
By Wesley Gardner
A reduced speed limit on U.S. 183 near the southern end of Lockhart’s city limits is now in effect, as the city works to improve traffic safety in that area.
The speed limit on U.S. 183 that runs from just north of Summerside Avenue in Lockhart to south of County Road 213 has been reduced to 55 miles per hour. The speed limit was previously 65 mph. City officials noted the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has installed signage that indicates the new speed limit.
The Texas Transportation Commission approved the city’s request for the reduced speed limit in May.
Lockhart Public Works Director Sean Kelley said he initially worked with TxDOT to try to reduce the speed limit 45, but TxDOT engineers declined the request after conducting a traffic study that suggested the 20-mile-per-hour reduction wasn’t warranted.
Last month, A Lockhart resident was killed in the area after her vehicle was struck from behind by a truck on U.S. 183 while she slowed to turn off the highway onto Old Luling Road.
Texas Department of Public Safety Sergeant Deon Cockrell confirmed 69-year-old Jay Fortman was pronounced dead at the scene.
According to Cockrell, a Ford F250 was traveling behind Fortman as they were driving southbound on U.S. 183. Fortman’s SUV was then struck from behind by the truck when she slowed down to turn off the highway, which doesn’t have a turn lane in the area in question.
The driver of the truck was charged with failure to control speed, though it’s still unclear how fast the vehicle was travelling at the time of the collision.
Lockhart City Manager Steven Lewis said the city’s goal was to make the area safer for motorists.
“Our goal is to reduce fatal and injury crashes, especially those attributed to speeding and distracted driving near the Summerside subdivision entrance,” said Lewis. “The Lockhart Police Department has increased its presence in that area to safeguard those who travel and live in Lockhart.”
The new speed limit is one of several ways the city has worked to make that roadway safer.
The Lockhart City Council recently authorized the purchase of solar radar feedback signs that will be placed in view of drivers traveling both northbound and southbound on U.S. 183 showing them the posted speed limit and reminding them to slow down.
Officials said one will be placed 1,000 feet north of Tractor Supply, and the other, visible to motorists entering town, will be placed 500 feet south at the intersection of Summerside Avenue and U.S. 183.
Officials also noted the city has also worked with Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative to upgrade the lighting near the intersection. In addition, the Lockhart Police Department has increased its presence in the area in an effort to reduce speeding and crashes.