500% Crash Increase in Glasscock County Warrants Improvement 11/9/12
CBS 7 Reporter
November 9, 2012
Glasscock County, TX - A dangerous stretch of road in West Texas reports a 500% increase in traffic accidents and that number finally got the state's attention.
Now a major construction project is planned to expand a section of highway 158.
"It’s dangerous, real dangerous," claims Willy Orozco who claims he is on Hwy 158 daily.
"What do you see when you drive out here?” we asked.
“Wrecks, lots of wrecks," says another driver, Sam Carver.
"A lot of that's associated with the oilfield jobs and fracking jobs that are going on out there," says the Midland Odessa Transportation Alliance President James Beauchamp.
MOTRAN the most dangerous spot is when the lanes drop from 4 to 2 in Glasscock County.
In fact, MOTRAN says Glasscock County has seen a 500% increase in traffic accidents from 2009 to 2011.
"It is just a matter of time before you start seeing the fatalities that go with it,” Beauchamp says.
West Texas transportation officials say the need was obvious to them but convincing the state to fork over the money was a challenge, until they showed them the numbers.
"I think it was sort of eye opening for them,” Beauchamp claims. “This particular roadway is in a very rural area its kind of off set from either urbanized area and it’s not a top priority other San Angelo district or on a lot of ways the Midland or Odessa district."
Now $15 million in state and federal funding is being put to use. In December construction will begin to expand the road to 4 lanes.
"I think in the end this is going to save a lot of lives and this is one of the few areas where we've been fairly preemptive about it," Beauchamp says.
Glasscock County isn't the only area seeing an increase in traffic crashes.
Reagan County has seen a 54% increase, Howard County is up by 28%, and Sterling County is up by 27%