Traffic Boom Creates Congestion, Slows Police

Nick Lawton
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - Congestion, close calls, bumper-to-bumper traffic.  For many Midland drivers, it's becoming a nightmare.

"On the way to work and/or school in the morning, it's horrible, and from around 4:30 p.m. until about 6:00 p.m., it's miserable," Midland driver, Tom Vannaman, said.

Traffic volume city-wide has gone up 7% but that translates to a much bigger number of cars.

"It's over 29,000 more vehicles on the streets that are traveling this year that wasn't there last year," Midland Transportation Manager, Gary Saunders, said. "The economy's doing well. You see a mix of license plates, not just Texas anymore. They're from most of the states."

Take the normal holiday hustle and bustle and add in this traffic boom and it does create problems for traffic officers.

Especially in emergency responses to accidents.

"I hear officers asking officers who are already there, 'How's the best way for me to get in there? I know I can't come in this way because it's blocked off. Traffic's backed up,'" Midland Police Lieutenant, Brian Bogart, said.

The traffic is slowing them down on the way to help accident victims.

Midland Police have worked to actually decrease the accident rate, having only five fatalities this year compared to 17 in 2010.

They want to keep it that way, but in the Christmas shopping craze, along with the larger traffic, the risk is doubled.

"When you start getting in long lines of cars, that's when you have the two, three-car pileups from rear-enders," Bogart said.

Police advise all drivers to pay attention and be safe on the roads while transportation officials look for ways to widen streets and add more places for parking in the coming year.

"You gotta figure out how the traffic's going to be whether it be retail, residential, commercial, office, whatever," Saunders said.