Interstate 20 Road Work Keeping Law Enforcement Busy - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: |

Interstate 20 Road Work Keeping Law Enforcement Busy

By Sylvia Gonzalez
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND COUNTY - Driving westbound down Interstate 20 has become a real headache lately with all the roadwork backing up traffic. During morning and evening commutes, traffic gets so congested impatient drivers actually get off the Interstate and onto the service road causing a dangerous situation for other drivers.

According to Trooper Shawn Baxter with the Texas Department of Public Safety, the last couple of days have been busier than usual due to road work.

"Unfortunately what we're seeing are alot of people that are in a hurry. They don't want to wait or haven't planned ahead and planned an alternate route and they are driving across the center medians that separates the frontage road from the main traveled roadway," Baxter said.

Trooper Baxter says anytime work is being done on a road they tend to cite drivers for not slowing down or crossing onto service roads. Baxter told NewsWest 9 how many tickets have been issued in the last 48 hours.

"Local troopers in the area the Midland and Odessa district, in the last day and a half alone, have issued approximately 150 citations for drivers cutting across the median," Baxter said.

Baxter says motorists who drive off the Interstate onto the access road are not only breaking the law they are also endangering the lives of everyone else on the road.

"Not only is it a violation of state law but it's also a traffic hazard. During that day and a half period, we have recorded one traffic crash were a vehicle left the main roadway (I-20) to go to the access road by driving across the divided section and struck a vehicle that was on the feeder road," Baxter said.  

Law enforcement knows some drivers might get impatient once the road merges to one lane.

"As in the past, we are engaged in what's called Operation Asphalt, where we have troopers from other districts and other areas coming into the Permian Basin for traffic enforcement," Baxter said.

TX-DOT is set to work on 15 miles of road for the next seven months on Interstate 20. Expect delays Monday through Thursday and if you are an impatient driver, use alternate routes.

"What we would recommend to locals, who know the area and live in this area who are aware of the construction, start planning now for an alternate route. Business 20 or Highway 191 so you don't have to worry becoming stuck in a traffic jam," Baxter said.  

If you are caught crossing from Interstate 20 to the median onto the service road, your fee can be anywhere from $50 to $200 plus court cost fees.

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