The mudslides throughout the north of Texas are making it difficult for drivers to make their way, even on interstates like I-30 near Grand Prairie. But it's also taxing TxDOT's budget as well as its labor force.
Projected costs for fixing the roadways there could be about $1 million, and the maintenance crews sorting out the messes aren't able to work on other needed projects throughout the state. Spokespeople for the agency have noted that it's become a matter of trying to spread finite resources around.
If you're about to take a online Texas defensive driving course
here, you may not know that work zones and mudslides can be as dangerous as they often are. But statistics point to 20,000 accidents adjacent to or in construction sites on an annual basis, or double the rate in most areas of Texas. TxDOT noted that the issue is one it is trying to address with better signage and driver education programs.
Areas throughout Texas are likely to see more gridlock in and around construction sites this summer, something that will already exacerbate clogged highways through much of the state. Roughly 1,000 projects are scheduled while the weather is conducive for roadwork, and it may take a while for things to be completed as crews fight to remediate the mud issues in the north.
Residents and even local governments aren't happy about the progress that crews are making, though. One newspaper ran an editorial outlining the $400 million that has been spent on projects in northern counties, with little to no progress made in traffic on I-35 for example.
Lewisville is one city that's trying to go after the state, but with little chance of success. They're requesting officials cite nearby road crews for lack of repairs that are causing traffic safety issues throughout Denton county, although their attorney says that TxDOT is immune from prosecution or picking up violations.
"This is happening all over the state," Councilmember Rudy Durham told the Lewisville Leader. "TxDOT said there is no more money after 2012 for roads and maintenance work. It's at the legislature, not TxDOT."
That's why they're asking the state legislature to re-evaluate funding for road maintenance, as well as the success of various projects.
Until then, this summer is likely to be heated for motorists with delays and warm weather meaning families will fill the roads to go to vacation spots. It will pay dividends for drivers who add 10-30 minutes to longer drives in order to remain on time for any events.
If you want to be able to enjoy the roads more, whether you practice defensive driving
every day or not, you could also write a letter to your local representative asking them for more funding for road projects throughout the state. Experts worry that without more funding, the growth of population in Austin and the Dallas-Fort Worth Metro areas will only get worse. As it stands, there is only enough funding for one major highway construction effort in the area, such as a new interchange, until 2021.