MIDLAND COUNTY -A typically-smiling 5-year-old named Norah Boswell is the face of the nearly 50 students that attend Bynum Elementary. The school for special needs children is open year-around, but for some parents, getting them to the school every morning is a challenge.
"It's always been risky, it's always been chancy," her father, John Boswell said.
It's all because of the intersection leading to the school. Complainants claim the different speeds along the busy cross at West County Road 60 and State Highway 158 pose the danger to anyone affiliated with Bynum. Now residents like John Boswell are pushing for authorities to do something about it.
"I am one of the people that's now gonna bring the pressure to bear on them to speed up the process, because it's not a want, it's a need," he said.
After some accidents there in the past, the most recent of which occurred Wednesday, Boswell said a number of people brought the issue to County Commissioners.
As a result, a school zone sign was put up on the county road, which already had a stop sign to call for drivers to slow down.
But the highway is under TXDOT's jurisdiction, and Boswell feels they're putting this issue on the back-burner.
"How many people have to be hurt, how many vehicles have to be wrecked? How many lives have to be devastated before something is done about it?" he asked. He acknowledged that it wasn't the only intersection that needed attention, but wanted to help reduce the risk there because it was one that had a school in such close proximity.
According to Boswell, officials had added a diamond-shaped sign indicating that there is a school ahead, "but if you're going 75 miles per hour you're never gonna see it. You're gonna blast right through!"
But in an email from officials with TXDOT's Odessa District to NewsWest 9, they said they are taking the concerns seriously, that engineering standards are in place that have to be met in order for them to install any type of intersection control, whether it's a four-way stop or a traffic signal. An assessment on the intersection is scheduled for some time in August. Afterwards TXDOT will determine what solutions-if any- will be needed.
"Midland is growing exponentially. And whatever studies they had 6 months ago or a year ago are way out of date," Boswell contested.
TXDOT goes on to say that the district has been awarded federal funding to install flashing signs and lighting on the street for the intersection in 2017, and that "we realize this sounds like a long wait, but that's how the federal program works."