MIDLAND COUNTY, TX (KWES) - The Permian Basin Metropolitan Planning Organization has been in a 15-month process on their I-20 Corridor Study. One item in the study is considering converting the two-way frontage road to a one-way.
The I-20 Corridor Study evaluates I-20 and looks at safety and capacity needs as traffic and car crashes increase in the area. Just the I-20 frontage road crashes alone have increased from 70 crashes in 2010 to 187 crashes just last year.
The frontage road conversion idea was based on the 1999 Study that looked at what the traffic population could look like by 2015. Because the Permian Basin is becoming more urbanized and exceed the expected 2015 population, the study is looking at the increase in fatalities.
"People have certain expectations when they go into urban areas like Dallas, Houston, San Antonio. They're all one-way frontage roads when you get there," said Permian Basin MPO Executive Director Cameron Walker. "When you come to this area, people that don't live around here aren't aware with the two-way frontage roads that exist today. It has caused concerns, accidents and fatalities."
The MPO said fatalities have been a problem on the I-20 frontage roads between Midland and Ector County. A study by Texas A&M Transportation Institute said converting the two-way to a one-way could reduce serious head-on crashes between 83 to 94%.
"When you get to that point when you want to get on the interstate, and that person is coming straight at you and you're trying to decide whether you want to stop or yield, if they don't, you got a T-bone situation," said Walker.
Some items considered for the project include looking at ways to provide circulation such as turn-arounds, modifying entrance and exit ramps and create traffic plans while frontage roads are under construction. Since nothing is set in stone yet, it's up to the policy board to make decisions on the conversion.
"We're going to address safety among other things," said Walker. "Safety, mobility, convenience, people's ability to move around safely and also economic improvements."
The policy board plans to have their next meeting on January 23 to make considerations on the project.