Judge: Serious crash highlights need for turn-lanes on U.S. 281

STAFF WRITER CONNIE SWINNEY

Authorities are investigating a two-vehicle collision July 10 in which one of the motorists swerved to avoid vehicles waiting to turn left off U.S. 281 on the Blanco-Burnet County line. The photo shows first responders working within one of the vehicles involved in the crash. Courtesy photo

Authorities are investigating a two-vehicle collision July 10 in which one of the motorists swerved to avoid vehicles waiting to turn left off U.S. 281 on the Blanco-Burnet County line. The photo shows first responders working within one of the vehicles involved in the crash. Courtesy photo

ROUND MOUNTAIN — At least one person is fighting for his life July 11 after a two-vehicle crash involving motorists stopped to turn off U.S. 281 at the Blanco-Burnet County line.

Officials said two vehicles facing south had stopped just before 8 a.m. on the highway at County Road 403 north of Round Mountain as one was apparently attempting to turn onto the country road when a third southbound vehicle “swerved” to miss the stationary vehicles, resulting in the collision.

The four-door passenger car reportedly moved to the right, went around the vehicles, overcorrected, came back across the highway, and collided with a northbound pickup truck.

“That wreck was caused as (motorists) were turning left off the highway,” Burnet County Judge James Oakley said. “This accident yet again illustrates the need for a center turn-lane off of a very busy Highway 281.”

Burnet County Precinct 4 Commissioner Joe Don Dockery was at the scene and captured images to share with the Texas Department of Transportation to call for a closer look at the corridor.

“(It was) a very violent collision. … I have been advocating for a turn-lane at this location for years,” Dockery said. “TxDOT should consider this a project with regional impact as it benefits residents of both Burnet and Blanco counties.

“We need TxDOT to fund this center turn-lane project,” he added.

The pickup truck driver declined treatment at the scene; however, the driver of the passenger car was transported by ambulance to an area hospital with potentially critical injuries, officials said.

Along that area of U.S. 281, the lack of a center turn-lane has resulted in a number of other crashes over the years, including at least one fatality since 2015 when an 18-wheeler collided with a southbound Marble Falls motorist stopped to turn left.

“It can wreak havoc when vehicles are approaching from behind,” said Oakley regarding the current highway alignment, which features no turn-lane in that area.

connie@thepicayune.com

4 Responses to “Judge: Serious crash highlights need for turn-lanes on U.S. 281”

  1. Letty templeton says:

    We have needed a turn lane here for some time!!! We take our lives in our hands every time we come home from town… I can’t count how many close calls I have had from people who don’t want to have to change lanes.. I know everyone who lives in this area feels the same way!!!!

  2. Charlotte says:

    I agree there has been a need for a turning lane for many many years BUT with that being said that does not mean make it only a 2 lane highway with a turning lane. I have seen many time on a 2 lane hwy where the car in front is not going fast enough so they pass in the turning lane. Keep the 4 lane hwy and add a turning lane this is the same thing that should have been done on 290 from the Blanco Co line to Dripping Springs. Taking away a lane only makes for road rage.

  3. Polly Wilde says:

    I have 2 small children. My girls are ages 7 and 4 years old. I start tapping my brakes WAY before turning on CR 403. Why on Earth was the speed limit increased from 70 to 75 when this was already a dangerous area to turn anyway??!!! I do not know what would happen if my girls or husband were hurt, or worse, because of lack of much needed intervention by someone to take action to save some lives.

  4. Tina says:

    I agree there has been a need for a turning lane for years, but I do not agree with making it only a 2 lane highway with a turning lane. However, the fast lane (inside lane) should only be used for passing, not for riding along. Perhaps, if law enforcement would cite drivers for riding in the fast lane people would get over in the slow lane (outside lane) and would not be traveling in the fast lane where others are trying to turn left in the first place!

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