Safety improvements coming to Lakeshore Drive

Posted at 1:41 PM, Apr 19, 2017
and last updated 2018-07-24 21:30:46-04

The City of Waco is planning to make some improvements to Lakeshore Drive near Mount Carmel Drive this summer to improve safety in that area.

One of the projects include fixing an uneven portion of a hill that is unstable. According to Waco City Spokesman Larry Holze, the downhill slope is sliding to the wrong side, which can prompt vehicles to hit a guardrail. He said the ground in that area unstable due to a geological fault.

The project, which is expected to start in June, will entail the rebuilding of the outside lanes to allow the curve to bank in the right direction. The city approved the $372,720 contract with Big Creek Construction, which will be overseen by the Texas Department of Transportation. Part of the project will be paid through the Federal Highway Safety Improvement Program. 

The hill is also an area that becomes more dangerous when it rains. Waco Police Sgt. Patrick Swanton said officers have responded to several crashes, including deadly ones there.

"Part of that has to do with roadway conditions, surface of the road, the high speeds. This a 40 mph zone but as people in and around Waco know people seldom do 40 miles an hour on Lakeshore Drive,” Sgt. Swanton said.

Driver Jimmy Curry who was visiting Koehne Park on Wednesday said he usually pays attention to his speed when he drives down the hill near Mt. Carmel Drive and Lakeshore Drive.

"You can get going fast without knowing it pretty easily,” Curry said.

He added that slowing down is even more important when it rains.

“I definitely have to go slower in the rain because you can lose traction,” Curry said.

He supports projects that would make that area safer.

"It seems like it would be a lot less dangerous."

To temporarily solve the problem, the city grooved the pavement on that curve six months ago. Waco Police has also closed the road when it has been raining for several days.

"If the road is wet, doesn't mean you have to travel 40 miles an hour, you should probably slow your speeds to keep yourself a little bit safer,” Swanton said. “Even if the roads are dry here 40 miles an hour, a curve, an area where people may be tempted to glance away from the roadway, where they could drift.”

Another project this summer entails adding a turning lane at the intersection of Mt. Carmel and Lake Shore Drive to improve visibility. This project is expected to have a cost of $263,000.

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