Caution Urged as Road Construction Mixes with Weather and Shopping - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

12/12/03

Caution Urged as Road Construction Mixes with Weather and Shopping

The growing possibility for ice or snow in Lubbock could make for slick roads this winter. With increased holiday traffic and major construction taking place on the West Loop, Tx DOT officials have an important warning for drivers. They're asking them to use extreme caution in construction zones and around workers. Also, drivers need to keep an eye out for icy areas on bridges, and remember to slow down!

Texas Department of Transportation Officials admit there's little they can do to aleve traffic congestion during this busy holiday shopping season or simply during the ride home, but they report progress is being made. Penny Mason, of Tx DOT, say, "The Marsha Sharp Freeway Project is ahead of schedule. Granite Construction Company is actually about 55 days ahead of schedule. We've been very pleased with the progress."

With the completion of all phases of the freeway project at least a decade away, Tx DOT is taking the project one step at a time. The day before Thanksgiving, access roads near the mall and Spur 327 were opened up specifically to ease holiday shopping traffic. The next big change was expected to happen next week, but equipment troubles pushed that back to early next month. Mason says, "We will be making a traffic changeout on Brownfield and the West Loop Highway. If you want to get on North Loop, you won't have to get on the cloverleaf anymore." Instead, drivers can gain access from the frontage road and that is expected to ease traffic considerably.

Unfortunately the change won't come in time for holiday traffic, and there's not much else that can be done. So for now, workers just keep plugging away- holiday traffic and cold weather or not. All construction workers ask you to do in return for their hard work is slow down and use caution in construction zones. Construction worker, Hector Mendoca says, "A lot of people they don't pay a lot of attention. It's one of the paths that's real dangerous. We do this for them and they (drivers) don't think about us or the signs or nothing."

Tx DOT reminds drivers: speed limits are only applicable during optimal conditions. In snow or ice slow down. Also, expect delays and factor them into your travel time.

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