Polk County Enterprise - Local News
Stories Added - Thursday, April 3, 2008
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Massive traffic growth contributing to increased crashes
Polk County Enterprise - April 2008
LIVINGSTON – Traffic rates through the City of Livingston have grown by 4,000 to 6,000 vehicles per day, according to the Texas Department of Transportation. The data offers some explanation for longer travel times for local motorists as well as the rise in the number of car crashes. Traffic counts by TxDOT staff members show an average of 21,000 cars a day use the segment of U.S. 190 just west of the Loop 59 bypass. Counts in the same area in 1995 averaged 14,900 vehicles per day. Only 19,500 vehicles are counted east of Livingston on the U.S. 190 in the eastbound lanes. The surprising figures in the statistical report are the mismatch between the number of vehicles traveling in the opposite direction. On U.S. 59, TxDOT counted 15,900 northbound vehicles, but 23,000 were southbound on U.S. 59 at the junction of Business 59. In 1995, the highway department reported 15,900 northbound travelers and 16,900 southbound. Livingston Police Department officials said the massive traffic growth is a contributing factor in the increased number of car crashed the department handles inside the city limits. “We had stayed steady at about 300 crashes a year average, but in the last couple years we’ve had about 380 with more fatal crashes,” said Lt. Matt Parish, LPD spokesman said. Parish added that LPD typically reported either zero or one fatal crash per year during his years with the department. In 2007, four people died in crashes inside the city limits of Livingston. The increased traffic also has affected the number of hours officers spend on traffic control. “On the day shift, the majority of their time is spent responding to crashes,” Parish said. In recent weeks, city officers have had to handle two or three crashes at a time on Church Street (U.S. 190).