Planning organization says heavy traffic in Nursery only temporary

Melissa Crowe By Melissa Crowe

May 23, 2012 at 12:23 a.m.
Updated May 24, 2012 at 12:24 a.m.

Despite encouragement from a Victoria County commissioner to lower the speed limit on U.S. Highway 87, the Victoria Metropolitan Planning Organization did not take action to implement a change.

Randy Bena, who serves in the organization, said the heavy traffic crossing U.S. Highway 87 at Leeper Lane is only temporary and should be out by August.

"It's easier to swallow if you know it's only a couple of months," Bena said.

Commissioner Kevin Janak, who attended the MPO meeting this week, wanted the speed limit lowered from 70 mph to 55 mph in the area from Nursery to the schools for safety reasons.

Janak said, with all the traffic moving at 70 mph, it's too hard for drivers to judge when it's safe to get on the highway.

The traffic, about 500 cars and 150 semi-trucks daily coming onto and exiting the highway, is coming from Michels Corporation, a pipeline service company.

"They're not a problem," Bena said. "In fact, they've been very safety and traffic minded."

The company has hired off-duty law enforcement officers to slow traffic and installed electronic message boards cautioning of traffic, Bena said.

"The good thing is next week, school's out," Bena said. "Traffic tapers off in the summer. Those folks should be gone when school comes back."

The organization also heard from Assistant City Manager John Kaminski about adding a third project to the Transportation Improvement Program.

The project includes construction of 3.85 miles of frontage road on U.S. Highway 59, from .1 mile east of Loop 463 to .3 miles west of U.S. Highway 87. The project is estimated to cost $10.66 million and would let to contract in December.

Kaminski said he expected that the Victoria MPO will receive about $2.69 million from about $2 billion in available funding for transportation projects.

The organization will take formal action June 12.



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