STAFF WRITER CONNIE SWINNEY
SPICEWOOD — Burnet County officials on March 15 descended upon the scene of the second Texas 71 collision in a week to gather evidence and urge the Texas Department of Transportation to consider safety upgrades to the crash-prone stretch of highway.
The crash happened at about 10 a.m. Thursday at the intersection of Vista View Trail and involved a Dodge pickup truck and a Ford pickup truck both traveling east in the area of the Doublehorn Creek subdivision.
According to witnesses on the scene, the Ford pickup had stopped to turn left into the subdivision when an approaching Dodge slammed into the back of the vehicle.
No life-threatening injuries were reported; however, images at the scene captured how damaging such a crash could be.
“I went there. It’s important for me to see and document these accidents because it directly correlates to the safety enhancements needed on TxDOT highways in Burnet County,” County Judge James Oakley said.
Oakley, along with Pct. 4 Commissioner Joe Don Dockery, who was also on the scene, said they have pitched their concerns to TxDOT on several occasions about needed upgrades to the highway.
In February, the Burnet County Commissioners Court also approved a list of proposed road infrastructure upgrades vying for potential state and federal funding, including a $15 million improvement project on Texas 71 in Spicewood.
“This section of road is part of the CAMPO projects recently submitted by Burnet County,” Oakley said. “(The recent collision) is yet another example of a need to find funding for center-turn lanes on Highway 71.”
CAMPO is the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, which coordinates with local and state agencies on transportation issues affecting Bastrop, Burnet, Caldwell, Hays, Travis, and Williamson counties.
In another incident March 12, a rental truck driver was transported by ambulance to an emergency room after his vehicle crashed into the back of an 18-wheeler exiting an asphalt plant on Texas 71 just east of the more recent collision.
“We also need acceleration, deceleration lanes for our industrial traffic like rock quarries and concrete plants as illustrated by the other wreck early this week,” Oakley said.
The CAMPO board is scheduled to meet in May to prioritize projects among its members and potentially make recommendations to TxDOT for consideration in August.