Drivers Create Dangerous Makeshift Loop 289 On-Ramp - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

5/31/07

Drivers Create Dangerous Makeshift Loop 289 On-Ramp

It's illegal, but that's not stopping some drivers from doing it anyway. Some have taken it upon themselves to create their own make-shift ramp to get on North Loop 289, between 4th and Quaker near the Lubbock Heart Hospital.

This story started with an e-mail from a NewsChannel 11 viewer. She says she nearly got into a wreck when someone used this ramp to enter the loop. The drivers we spoke with say it's simply too far to drive to the designated ramp and the makeshift one is more convenient, but that convenience could come at a cost.

Tom Martin with the Metropolitan Planning Organization says, "State law prohibits entering and exiting from a freeway except at a designated ramp."

Not only is it illegal. It's simply dangerous. Martin says, "It's really dangerous because the traffic on the loop is running 65 miles an hour and the most you could get up this dirt ramp and go over that hump would maybe be 5 miles an hour." In other words, you don't have the time and distance to build up your speed like you do with a designated on-ramp.

The issue for these drivers is that in this location, there's about a mile and a half and two stop lights between the make-shift on-ramp and the first designated on-ramp.

Martin says plans to repair the problem are underway. Martin says, "With in the next five years, there is a major road plan. We call it the Northwest Passage and it has several parts to it.

There are six parts to be exact.  The first is slated to start this year, starting with the extension of Erskine Street and Slide Road up to the Clovis Highway. In late 2008, the loop, in this part of Lubbock, will be widened and an on-ramp will be put almost exactly where the make-shift one exists today.

Martin says, "Ultimately when the project is complete, it will be a safe movement because you'll have actual ramps. But in the meantime, this is dangerous, fool-hearty and quite frankly there may have to be some barriers erected to keep people from doing things like this."

The fine for this type of violation is as high as $200.

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