LUFKIN DISTRICT ADDING TO PEDESTRIAN INFRASTRUCTURE

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Rhonda Oaks
Rhonda Oaks is the Public Information Officer for the nine-county Lufkin District of the Texas Department of Transportation. A Lufkin native, she is a graduate of Hudson High School and Angelina College. She has a background in print journalism and worked for many years as a newspaper reporter and a freelance writer. She has received eight Associated Press awards. Her articles have been published in many publications over the past 25 years.

A pre-construction meeting was held in the Lufkin Area Office Thursday, Oct. 14, signaling the beginning of a new construction project in three Lufkin District counties.

Work is scheduled to begin on Wednesday, Oct. 20 on the construction of pedestrian sidewalks and curb ramps as part of the pedestrian infrastructure in the Lufkin District. Crews will begin the project in Lufkin and move to Huntington in Angelina County, to Crockett in Houston County and Nacogdoches in Nacogdoches County.

Work in Angelina County will include sidewalk and curb ramp construction on US 59/North Medford Drive from near East Lufkin Avenue to near SH 103/Atkinson Drive in Lufkin. Once completed, crews will move to Huntington to construct sidewalks and curb ramps on US 69 from near South First Street to Avenue A. Work will then progress to Crockett on SH 7/East Goliad Avenue from near 12th Street to near SL 304. Work will then move to Nacogdoches for the construction of sidewalks and curb ramps on FM 1878/East Starr Avenue near Clark Boulevard to near Cardinal Street.

This project will add an additional 3.53 miles of pedestrian infrastructure to the Lufkin District. Highway 19 Construction LLC, Sulphur Springs TX, will serve as contractor for the $4.1 million project that is set for completion in July 2023, weather permitting.

As this work begins, motorists are urged to reduce speed in work zones, stay alert for workers and moving equipment and remember that traffic fines double when workers are present.

Since 2015, TxDOT has spent $153 million in federal and state funding to upgrade sidewalks, curbs and striping for pedestrian accessibility, safety, and mobility. In addition, during that same time, TxDOT awarded $116 million in grant funding to support more than 120 sponsored projects that provide safe routes to schools, multiuse pathways, sidewalks, and bike paths in rural and small urban areas.

Crash reports from law enforcement indicate the two leading causes for pedestrian fatalities are: 1) pedestrians failing to follow traffic safety laws and being struck when crossing roadways, and 2) motorists failing to yield the right of way, driving distracted or driving too fast. Alcohol also is a factor in pedestrian-related crashes, deaths, and injuries.

TxDOT offers these safety tips to prevent a deadly encounter.

For drivers:

  • When turning, yield the right of way to pedestrians.
  • Stop for pedestrians at crosswalks.
  • Be cautious when passing stopped buses or other vehicles.
  • Pay attention and put your phone away. Pedestrians may enter your path suddenly.
  • Obey the speed limit and drive to conditions.

For pedestrians:

  • Cross the street only at intersections and crosswalks. Look left, right, then look again.
  • Make eye contact with drivers before crossing. Don’t assume drivers see you.
  • Obey all traffic and crosswalks signals.
  • Use the sidewalk. If there isn’t one, walk on the left side of the road, facing oncoming traffic.
  • When walking, put away electronic devices that take your eyes and ears off the road.
  • Wear bright clothing during the day, and wear reflective materials or use a flashlight at night.

For more information, contact Rhonda.Oaks@txdot.gov or call (936) 633-4395. Follow Lufkin District updates on Twitter at TxDOT Lufkin and on Facebook at Texas Department of Transportation (Lufkin). For road conditions or closures statewide, visit drivetexas.org.

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