HARRISON COUNTY, Texas (KTAL/KMSS) — In February, the Texas Department of Transportation received requests to conduct a traffic study on Interstate 20. The findings of the study concluded that there is an above-average number of crashes and deaths on this stretch of Interstate 20 in Harrison County. A solution to the problem is to lower the speed limit from 75 to 70 mph.
The new speed limit will be enforced from the Texas-Louisiana line to the Gregg-Harrison County line. “I am hopeful these changes will catch their attention and slow people down, said TX Dot PIO Marcus Sandifer. According to Sandifer, the crash rate for Harrison County in 2016 was 86% and the statewide average was 53%. In 2018, the crash rate for Harrison County is 77% and the statewide number is 61%. In 2018, the number of crashes in Harrison County was 370.
In April, the city of Waskom and Marshall approved this new change in their jurisdictions on the interstate. “On a daily basis, we get calls from people reporting dangerous drivers and people exceeding the speed limit,” said Waskom Police Chief Westy Meisenheimer.
The City of Waskom has seen speed limit changes in recent history. In 2018, Waskom temporarily adjusted speed limits from 75 to 65 because of car crashes near constriction at the Louisiana Texas line. “It created a bottleneck where traffic would back up for miles. We had so many car crashes that it overwhelmed our emergency services, said Meisenheimer.”
At this time, a timetable hasn’t been set for when the new signs will be installed on Interstate 20.