The pain of two lanes

Changed lane pattern on 75 sparks complaints

Posted 9/10/19

The new lane configuration on State Highway 75 through Madisonville may help stem rear-end collisions caused by left-hand turns along the route, but it has also caused a flurry of verbal collisions from drivers unhappy with the new lane pattern.

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The pain of two lanes

Changed lane pattern on 75 sparks complaints

Posted

The new lane configuration on State Highway 75 through Madisonville may help stem rear-end collisions caused by left-hand turns along the route, but it has also caused a flurry of verbal collisions from drivers unhappy with the new lane pattern.

“Stupid stupid, all I can say, real stupid,” said one Facebook commentator on the matter. “They took away our two lanes! Big mistake!” posted another.

The commentary even slid into higher civic conversation Monday night at the regular meeting of the Madisonville City Council, in discussions of the monthly city manager report:

“Regarding the last line of the city manager report, you think the new striping on 75 looks nice,” asked Russell Bailey, mayor pro tem.

“It looks clean,” said City Manager Camilla Viator.

“No comment,” replied Bailey.

TxDOT began the repaving and restriping project in late July but revealed the new lane pattern – converting the four-lane road into two lanes with a central turning lane – a couple of weeks ago. To very little fanfare.

“There's such a wide turn lane (never seen one so wide before) and wide shoulders, which to me I would shrink the turn lane to a normal width and add back a second lane on either side,” said Missy Allen, a math teacher at Madisonville Intermediate School who has to drive 75 most days. The location of Madisonville schools was one of the main thrusts of complaints, with traffic backing up from the highway’s intersection with State Highway 21 south to the school campuses when classes let out for the day.

“Most people seem to be trying to avoid that intersection at all costs now,” Allen said.

Relief did come recently with a re-timed light at that intersection, though. Police Chief Herbert Gilbert said after-school congestion has eased on the route since the signal was adjusted on Sept. 4.

“We intend to make the signal adjustments today and to make signal timing tweaks as necessary in order to get traffic to flow as efficiently as possible,” Bobby Colwell, public information officer for TxDOT’s Bryan District said via e-mail that day. Colwell admitted that his office had received “periodic” complaints, mainly revolving around the peak times when school lets out. Viator admitted the city has fielded a number of complaints as well, but simply forward them to TxDOT.

The renovation of 75 also includes a planned new signal installation at Collard Street are also planned, as well as other lighting work at I-45 and 75.

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