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Stop signs installed for traffic safety

Brian Cuaron

By Brian Cuaron
July 11, 2011 at 2:11 a.m.

A truck hauling materials for State Materials, a gravel-mining company, heads towards FM 1685 on Smith Road. Residents complained that there were near accidents at the Smith and River roads intersections.

The Victoria County Commissioners Court put the brakes on some local traffic by installing stop signs.

The order for the signs on Monday came after residents complained about some near misses at various intersections, said Kevin Janak, commissioner of Precinct 2.

The greatest safety concern was traffic at the intersection of Smith and River roads.

"It's become extremely dangerous at that intersection," said Tina Wayne at the court's meeting.

Wayne's household and two others comprise a small neighborhood that must use the intersection to get on Farm-to-Market Road 1685. The residents complained that trucks hauling gravel from a nearby pit had almost collided with them.

In one instance, area resident John M. Gonzales said his son and granddaughter were going down River Road as an 18-wheeler was coming along Smith Road. Gonzales said his son and the 18-wheeler both slammed on their brakes as they almost collided in the middle of the intersection.

The fact that Smith Road is gravel doesn't help. Wayne said the trucks are going to skid when they need to stop right away,

The complaints began after State Materials started mining gravel towards the end of Smith Road. Truckers began hauling the gravel down Smith Road after the company broke ground in April.

Scott Thomas, vice president of sales for State Materials, said that Caterpillar was one of the company's major clients. Jack Daniels, a representative for CW&A Inc., said that his company has done about 50 hauling trips per day for the gravel-mining company.

Thomas and Daniels offered to assist the residents' traffic-safety concerns.

Thomas said that State Materials will acquire a truck next week to spray water on the ground. A resident has voiced concern about the dust kicked up by the trucks.

Sara Vela said she was driving behind one of the trucks on Smith Road when another 18-wheeler drove towards them. She said that once the trucks passed each other, the oncoming truck almost hit her as it came more toward the middle of the road.

Vela said the oncoming truck couldn't see her because of the dust.

"We did come close enough to where it was frightening," Vela said.

Vela said the roads may need to be paved.

Janak praised the companies for their cooperation in the matter.

Wayne said that residents understand that the area will be mined for the gravel. Vela said she was pleased with the companies' response.



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