|Polk County Enterprise - Local News
Copyright 2011 - Polk County Publishing Company
It could have been worse
BY VALERIE REDDELL
LIVINGSTON — The first day of school poses headaches for parents as well as the school and law enforcement officials who try to keep everyone moving. The opening of the new high school campus had local officials braced for traffic tie-ups, since Texas Department of Transportation will not begin a traffic study to changing signals or speed limits until December. City and school officials made numerous requests during the two-year construction period, especially given the high number of crashes on U.S. 190 west of Livingston even before the new campus opened. Fire Chief Corky Cochran reported the traffic seemed to move well, virtually clearing near the high school campus at about 8:45 a.m. LISD spokesman Gregg Faith said he expected those flows to improve through the week. “Many parents prefer to drop their children off the first day, but they will typically ride the bus to school and that will reduce the amount of traffic,” Faith said. Sgt. Ronnie Bogany of Livingston Police Department said the surge in traffic on FM 350 had caught many prison staffers off guard Tuesday morning. “We saw people who work in the administrative offices at the prison who should have been at work at 8 stuck in traffic downtown,” Bogany said. The sergeant added there was little his officers could do to alleviate the problem. Bogany said TxDOT workers told him neither officers or their department could manually cycle the traffic signal to handle the demand. A local elected official who spoke on condition of anonymity said Tuesday’s traffic tieups were frustrating, but said prison staffers and those traveling to the high school can bypass much of the traffic by avoiding the peak traffic period — just before the tardy bell rings at 8:20 a.m. He also pointed out that urban areas claim much of TxDOT’s resources, despite the fact that lives are at stake. “For the cost of one flyover on the freeway, you could eliminate all the traffic problems in Polk County — including the wrecks at the truck stops south of Livingston that kill so many people every year,” the official said. City Councilman Bill Wiggins has asked City Manager Marilyn Sutton to request TxDOT officials to be present at the next meeting to discuss traffic issues.