Crash numbers on the rise along MoPac during construction

mopac

A growing number of traffic accidents during construction work along MoPac has Austin police looking for answers.

Tuesday morning, the department deployed their helicopter to watch over construction zone for a closer look at traffic and possible hazards.

The department said a 12-car pileup was one of a handful of incidents they’ve responded to since crews began work.

With all the changes, some drivers say they’re confused. Tuesday’s helicopter mission was used as an opportunity to see if more signs and road features could help drivers out.

The speed limit has already been reduced to 55 mph from RM 2222 to U.S. Highway 183, but APD wants to find more ways to make the driver safer.

“Since there isn’t much of a shoulder anymore, we noticed that maybe part of the problem is people don’t have a place to go when they slam on their brakes,” said Lt. Robert Richman with the police department’s highway enforcement division.

Drivers have also voiced their concerns about things that could be improved along expressway.

“The lines were hard to distinguish,” said Ashley Baxt. “It was a little confusing which lane to stay in.”

Motorists said during certain times of the day, the new restriping causes confusion about which lane is old, and which is the new one.

The Central Texas Regional Mobility team says because of those concerns they are now working to add reflective buttons to all new lanes along the highway. The group says the reflectiveness of the old stripes should wear away over time as well.

In the meantime, APD says another thing they’ve noticed from above are the speeders.

“Slow down, number one,” Richman said. “Number two, don’t be so distracted while you’re driving and pay attention to what is going on. You know the construction is going on there so anything can happen.”

On Jan. 21, beginning at 9 p.m., construction crews will begin expanding their work further south. Two southbound lanes will be shut down from RM 2222 to 35th Street.

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