Controversy brews over proposed road changes - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Controversy brews over proposed road changes

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PLAINVIEW, TX (KCBD) -

Plainview residents are at odds over proposed changes to access roads along Interstate 27.

The preference for one-way or two--way traffic along those frontage roads depends on who you ask.

Right now, traffic runs in both directions.

The Texas Department of Transportation wants to change that in the interest of safety. They've reported several accidents along those frontage roads.

"There are a lot of safety issues and concerns with the two-way frontage roads through Plainview," said Dianah Ascencio with TxDOT.

Some residents are at odds over the proposed changes that run right through their town.

Monday night, nearly 100 people came to a public hearing to give their opinions on the proposed project.

The exits affected include F.M. 3466, U.S. Highway 70, and state highway 194.

Business owners along the access roads aren't too happy about the new plan.

Jim Fitzgerald owns the Taco Bell off the interstate, one of several busy fast food chains that bank on highway traffic.

"If they take half my traffic away that's what's going to happen to sales, half the sales are going to go away," Fitzgerald said.

TxDOT says they'll build turnarounds so drivers can still get to the businesses.

Fitzgerald says that may help, but worries not all drivers will take the effort to use the turnarounds to get to his restaurant.

"It's location, location, location, in the restaurant business," Fitzgerald said.

Other residents thought the turnarounds would improve the flow of traffic rather than blocking it during peak travel times.

"It's a beautiful way to control traffic, a circular way to control traffic, just like in Lubbock," said longtime Plainview resident J.B. Roberts.

Some are concerned drivers will look for faster routes through quiet residential streets or parking lots.

"This parking lot, (behind Taco Bell) where a lot of people approach the Taco Bell, is owned by an individual who owns the shopping center," Fitzgerald continued. "He'll have to come up with repairs for a lot of traffic that is not necessarily going to his business."

The project will cost the taxpayers nearly $15 million. Ascencio said the money came from a voter-approved state bond called ‘Proposition 12.'

Many residents at the meeting felt the money could be spent in better places.

"I think it's crazy to spend 13 million," one woman said at the meeting.

For others, if making traffic one-way cuts down on just one deadly accident, its money well spent.

"The lives that are lost and are going to be lost, what's a life worth?" Roberts asked.

Business owners don't necessarily disagree they just want a better plan.

"We're certainly not opposed to everything. We just don't think that taking away the two way access here with no provision for backage…it will become a safety issue," said retired business owner Don Williams.

TxDOT says they'll take opinions into consideration, but hope to have a plan together so they can start issuing bids for the project this summer.

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