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TxDot announces more roadwork, advises motorist to stay safe

Staff reports
The Texas Department of Transportation has announced road project to affect Texoma streets. [Herald Democrat]

 Texas Department of Transportation officials will soon begin on a project to affect Fannin County. In a news release issued last week, TxDOT said that a project to rehabilitate and improve a portion of FM 1550 in Fannin County will start next week.

The contractor for the project Harrison, Walker & Harper, Paris, Texas has been given 300 working days to complete the $3.6 million project. Project deadlines are weather permitting and the expected completion date is June 2022. 

"The contractor will rehabilitate the existing roadway from CR 3330 to State Highway 34," the release said. "Crews will replace culverts, and rehab the pavement with a two-course surface treatment and new pavement markings. Occasional temporary lane closures will be present while this construction project is underway, officials said."

While work is taking place on this roadway and other areas across Texoma, TxDOT wants to advise motorists to be safe while traveling near work crews.

The Texas Department of Transportation has a planned public meeting to talk about a newly proposed roadway in Gunter.

"The side of a highway may be a chaotic environment, but it’s also the daily office space for law enforcement, first responders, utility workers, tow truck drivers and TxDOT workers," a separate release that was also released Friday said. "That’s why TxDOT is calling on Texas drivers to keep these roadside workers safe."

In the release, TxDOT wanted to make the public aware of its "Be Safe. Drive Smart" initiative.

In relations to the state's Move Over/Drive Slow law, the release said, "This law requires drivers to move over or slow down when approaching law enforcement, tow trucks, utility vehicles, emergency responders and TxDOT vehicles stopped with activated overhead lights on the side of the road. Drivers who fail to give emergency and work crews space to safely do their jobs face fines up to $2000.

Unfortunately, police officers, tow truck drivers and other roadside workers are hit, injured or killed on the side of the road every year. TxDOT is calling on all drivers to respect these workers who are vital to keeping our roads clear and safe.

This year’s effort to remind motorists to move over and slow down coincides with National Traffic Incident Response Awareness Week (November 9–15) and TxDOT’s annual “Click It or Ticket” seat belt awareness campaign. Throughout November, troopers and officers statewide will step up enforcement of the state’s seat belt laws, which means motorists may see law enforcement vehicles on the side of the road more often conducting traffic stops.

The Move Over/Slow Down law requires drivers to:

Take safety precautions when they approach roadside law enforcement, emergency vehicles, tow trucks, utility vehicles and TxDOT vehicles with flashing lights on.

When possible, move out of the lane closest to these vehicles.

Slow down to 20 mph below the posted speed limit if safely switching lanes is not possible or the road doesn’t offer multiple lanes.

Reduce speed to 5 mph on roadways with posted speed limits of 25 mph or less.

The state’s Move Over/Slow Down law was first passed in 2003 and applied to police, fire and emergency medical service vehicles. The Texas Legislature has since extended the law’s protections to TxDOT vehicles, tow trucks and utility service vehicles.

“Be Safe. Drive Smart.” is a key component of #EndTheStreakTX, a broader social media and word-of-mouth effort that encourages drivers to make safer choices while behind the wheel such as wearing a seat belt, driving the speed limit, never texting and driving and never driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. Nov. 7, 2000 was the last deathless day on Texas roadways. #EndTheStreakTX asks all Texans to commit to driving safely to help end the streak of daily deaths on Texas roadways."