The three most deadly and dangerous roads in Erath County are now safer after the Texas Department of Transportation widened and added shoulders to two-lane highways across the state.
Shoulders were added to sections of FM 219, FM 205 and FM 2481 in a project that began in 2003. While some roads have been complete for years, TxDOT recently completed its last local improvement on FM 205.
"Safety is our top priority," said Phil Wilson, TxDOT executive director. "The agency's roadway widening initiative has been a tremendous success, both for increasing safety on Texas highways and potentially saving billions of dollars associated with fatal crashes and sustained injuries."
The Texas Transportation Institute studied six years of pre and post-improvement data on thousands of miles of narrow roads that have been widened.
Statewide, on 1,159 miles of recently added highway shoulders there were 133 fewer fatalities and 895 few injuries, according to the study. TTI has estimated that these projects could save up to 44 lives and prevent 298 injuries each year and 880 lives and 5960 injuries in the next two decades.
In 2003, voters approved $3 billion to pay for highway improvements stipulating 20 percent of the funding would help reduce crashes and improve hazardous roads. The Texas Legislature later added another $3 billion to the road improvement funding.
TxDOT plans on expanding these efforts in the future in areas where widening improvements are needed.