Construction leads to drivers' inattention, high speeds
Dan Eakin/Staff Photo - Ignacio Guerrero holds up a "SLOW" sign while cars, SUVs, pickups and 18-wheelers whiz by. Guerrero said most drivers are going faster than the 45 mph speed limit near construction along the U.S. Highway 75 service road in McKinney.
For the last several days, Ignacio Guerrero's job has mostly been to hold up a sign that reads "SLOW," aimed at traffic coming in off of U.S. Highway 75 onto the service road just south of Bloomdale Road in McKinney.
But drivers may be going too fast to read it.
"Most of them are going at least 50 to 60 miles an hour," Guerrero said. The speed limit on the service road is 45 miles per hour. Fines for speeding in a construction zone may be doubled.
Between the service road and the highway, and sometimes to the west of the service road, scores of workers are busy on the project that will eventually create four lanes and three service roads in each direction for and along U.S. 75.
Some are often working right against the service road that carries the traffic, with many working only a few feet from the traffic.
Sometimes it's Guerrero's job to turn his sign around to say "STOP."
They usually stop, he said.
Maybe it's because they saw his sign, or maybe it's because they saw heavy construction equipment about to move across the service road.
Another problem just south of Bloomdale Road is that there is no yield sign or stop sign where traffic merges onto the service road from U.S. 75. The exit has a lot of traffic because of drivers planning to go east or west onto U.S. Highway 380, and the service road has a lot of traffic, partly because of the courthouse and county administration building on Bloomdale Road.
Several accidents on U.S. 75 have recently been blamed on "driver inattention." Deputy Chief Joe Ellenburg of the McKinney Police Department said, "It's not always easy to tell what distracts people." He said some of it may be the construction.
Shortly before 7 a.m. Monday, an 18-wheeler plowed into a van and knocked it into a wall on U.S. 75, between U.S. 380 and Virginia Parkway. "Driver inattention" was listed as the cause of the wreck.
No one suffered serious injuries in the wreck, but the southbound part of the highway was closed for about two and a half hours because of a diesel spill caused by the accident.
"People need to plan to expect delays," Ellenburg said. "When people are in a hurry, that is when they are more likely to jeopardize themselves and others."
He added, "We are going to have some problems with this construction going on for the next three years. But it is going to really be nice when it is finished."