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TxDOT eyes crash-prone stretches of US 281 and Texas 29 for signal and turn-lane


AUSTIN — The Texas Department of Transportation has proposed improving safety features in two areas along crash-prone highways, including installing a traffic light on U.S. 281 in northern Marble Falls and a turn-lane on Texas 29 between Bertram and Liberty Hill.

Two crashes this year and one in 2016 on the two stretches of highway prompted the state agency to take a closer look at engineering studies and funding options to mitigate collisions.

The most recent one occurred April 12, when a 34-year-old man died on Texas 29 after he slammed into the back of a Burnet school district bus that was stopped to make a turn onto CR 264 just east of Bertram.


The fatality motivated state officials to “look at common factors that can be changed to eliminate or reduce the number of wrecks and make travel safer for everyone” said TxDOT Public Information Officer Christopher Bishop in a statement.

“Our engineers have examined conditions and crash records on (state highway) 29, and determined that an additional left turn lane would be a good addition,” Bishop stated. “We are submitting a project request for additional safety funds. … The project will compete with other candidates statewide for funding and approval.”

The funding consideration comes on the heels of a similar traffic safety issue west of the recent fatality on the same stretch of highway.

In 2013, TxDOT constructed two left turn-lanes on Texas 29 between Burnet and Bertram at CR 252 and CR 258 after a collision between a vehicle and a school bus that was stopped to make a turn. The accident took the lives of two Burnet High School students who were in the vehicle that struck the school bus.

“Safety is our top priority and a factor in all of decisions TxDOT makes about our highway system,” Bishop wrote.

Another area in which a project has gained approval involves a traffic light at the intersection of FM 1855 (Fairland Road) on U.S. 281 in Marble Falls.

On Jan. 10, an off-duty Burnet police officer and his daughter sustained injuries after a two-vehicle collision at that location.


Also, in July 2016, a retired teacher died at the same intersection when her vehicle collided with a pickup as she attempted to pull onto the busy highway from Fairland Road.


“There are also various regulations that we have to follow regarding traffic signals. Signals can be approved if they meet at least one specific condition,” Bishop stated. “A traffic signal study at U.S. 281 and FM 1855 was completed (in 2016), and the signal is scheduled for installation this fall.”

18 thoughts on “TxDOT eyes crash-prone stretches of US 281 and Texas 29 for signal and turn-lane

  1. We need a turn lane at 333 & 29. One killed and 2 seriously injured there. Feel like a sitting duck trying to turn to left onto 333, when coming from Austin. Danger from cars coming over a hill from Burnet and sitting stopped in driving lane from Austin. Cannot understand why this was not addressed when they put in the turn lane one turn up from us where the two students were killed. This is a much more dangerous place.

  2. Lower the speed limit between MF and Burnet to 60 mph and install the 1855 light as well as Park Road 4. This is no longer a rural highway.

    1. lowering the speed limit 10 or 15 mph isn’t going to do anything?? think about it!! people still will not pay attention to what they are doing…whether someone is going 75 or 60, and they hit you or you hit them, someone’s getting hurt. it all comes down to driver’s being aware of their surroundings and paying attention…that’s it!!
      putting in a light, center lane or changing the speed limit, won’t change anything, people are going to drive how they want. people need to be educated on how to drive on the highways correctly! the rules of the road not how they want to drive. bi$#%ing about they need to do this or that is a waste of time and my tax dollars!!! you have to educate these idiots on how to drive. because then again even that probably wouldn’t help, there will still be drivers that think they can drive how they want, how fast they want, nothing you can do until someone gets killed…then we’re back to square one. Look at the stupid idiot that killed 13 elderly people….you think changing the speed limit would’ve prevented that? or adding a center lane or shoulders or making the road straighter would’ve have prevented that guy from hitting those poor people??? NO! BTW…he should get the death penalty for that!!

    2. “Slow Down” read my comment below!! lowering the speed limit is STUPID!!

      1. So having a speed limit at 75mph while people are waiting to turn left is ok? Educating people is obviously not working. People are ultimately going to do what they want.
        Fatalities are much less likely going 60 instead of 80+. Just saying.

        1. “Seriously”…..”Fatalities are much less likely going 60 instead of 80+. Just saying.” really? Tell that to the poor parents of the kids that died rear ending the school bus a few years ago!!! and they were supposedly going 60!! this is what my argument is about. if drivers would drive in the right hand lane instead of the passing lane, 95% of accidents that have happened in the turning lane like that would have been prevented!!! JUST SAYING!!

          1. This affects me and my family on a daily basis. So if you aren’t one of those people waiting to turn left while people are going 80+ mph then you don’t need to comment. I would much rather someone be going 60 than 80 and have to move out of the way at the last second because people don’t pay attention. Fact is people DONT DRIVE IN THE RIGHT LANE EITHER.
            We could exchange stories all day long about deaths on these highways. What is your point? People don’t obey the law as it is. And now we have way more traffic coming through our towns. Something has to change.

          2. really? if you don’t know or understand my point then I don’t know what to tell you. people like you that complain about WE need to add lights, lanes, etc. when you have NO clue of what’s going on. It’s stupid drivers that are the problem…period. and you’re probably one of them, that don’t know how to drive. if you want change, then you have to change the behavior of drivers, not the roads!! yes, you’re right, people don’t obey the law as it is, so complain about spending millions of dollars to change a lane so people can turn when drivers still wont pay attention? DOES THAT MAKE SENSE TO YOU? and FYI….I am one those people that has to deal with turning into my street with no turn lane, but I pay attention to what is going on around me so I can make it home safely. I deal with it on a daily basis. I also deal with stupid drivers on a daily basis.

  3. What about Burnet to Bertram?? They just keep putting in small turn lanes and the rest of us have to hope it’s not us or someone we love the is killed on the other parts. So many people live down CR 304 and Lehne Road and all in between. There have been many fatality accidents along that stretch and nothing!! Makes me so mad!!! What is to evaluate? Does it have to be a news story before they will do something??

  4. So much more needs to be done!!!! Deaths are the only thing that gets their attention unfortunately. I bet if it were their family at risk every day waiting to turn left while massive gravel hauling 18 wheelers are going 80+ mph behind them things would change!!!! I’m sick of this!
    Yes people need to wake up, but our highways are way outdated for the growth and traffic! And they raised the speed limit south of 71 on 281 where there was a death just last year. They are ridiculous!

  5. 281 and County Road 403! Speed limit is 75mph on 281 there and NO TURN LANE and on a bend!

  6. I feel the intersection at Park Road 4 is a lot more dangerous. The turn lane is way too short when turning left. Turn is on a curve with cars passing you at 80 miles per hour on both sides. As far as accidents, there have been several there. I agree that attention has to be given while driving, but go park yourself in that small turn lane and sit there while the cars buck your car around as they pass you on a curve.

    1. I agree about park road 4 and 281. People are driving way to fast on 281 making it difficult for others to pull out off of park road 4…my mom and dad were killed at this intersection 2014…

  7. Until they put more officers patrolling these roads and can the Reckless (Those driving DISTRACTED and AGGRESSIVELY) there will still be more collisions and deaths on these (& other) roads. I agree with the previous reply – You have to pay ATTENTION when driving! I am tired of seeing more of our tax dollars spent in trying to keep many on the road (more and more guard rails for example) who should not be at the wheel of any vehicle in the first place.

    1. I agree…it’s people that drive and drive and drive in the left lane is what causes accidents. the left lane is for passing only. if they drive in the correct lane which is the right hand lane, there would be far less accidents. plus when they drive in the wrong lane it impedes other drivers from passing and causes traffic to bunch up and no one can do anything. on another note, people that pull out and drive down the center lane to merge into traffic causes accidents. the center lane is for “LEFT HAND TURNS ONLY”!! NOT TO USE TO MERGE INTO TRAFFIC. like I said, they cant wait so they pull out not paying attention and that’s what gets people killed. there again…people are stupid.

  8. Just because we have drivers not paying attention and people that cant wait a little bit so the traffic clears to pull out..we have to spend millions of dollars to install traffic lights and center turn lanes because they are impatient?? IT’S NOT THE ROADS FAULT PEOPLE!!I agree with “right” on his comment. PEOPLE NEED TO GET THEIR HEADS OUT OF THEIR *&*^!!! PEOPLE ARE STUPID….PAY ATTENTION!!

  9. So, does that mean they will be installing signals at every intersection. You have to pay ATTENTION when driving, especially when entering a highway. Thought that was explained in driver’s ed. Have signals and lowered speed limits on 281 at 1431 and 281 at 29 and still have multiple accidents weekly.

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