Now that the new State Highway 11 extension is open, there are two quick observations: 1) It will be a great benefit to Sulphur Springs and will open traffic in the south part of the city tremendously; and 2) someone is going to get seriously injured at the intersection of the new extension and Arbala Road.
The SH 11 extension really turned out fabulous. It is wide, looks to be well-built and is a much-needed bypass for getting from the south part of the city to the north — and vise versa. For too long, it has been a nightmare to get across the Broadway Street overpass during peak traffic times. The congestion and back-up can seem more like New York City than a small Texas town.
The new extension will help relieve that congestion, moving much of the traffic to Arbala Road and State Highway 19. Also, the new road could provide new opportunities for incoming businesses and residential areas. The sky is the limit.
The Arbala Road intersection of the SH 11 extension is a concern, however. The Texas Department of Transportation, which has control of the extension, decided against putting a signal light or a four-way stop at the intersection. Currently, only the travelers on Arbala Road have stop signs. It is not a safe situation.
Since Arbala Road was first built, travelers on the roadway have had a free run into town — unimpeded by any traffic concerns. Once construction began on the extension, stop signs were put up on Arbala. But with no cross-traffic, it has been nothing more than a stop-and-go for most drivers (unless a TxDot or construction crew was traveling on the pre-open extension — which often seemed more like a NASCAR race than a construction zone).
While the intersection may not meet the TxDot requirements for a four-way stop or traffic light, at the very least the state should put up a flashing red and yellow light to warn motorists of the intersection and possible traffic.
It would be the safe thing to do and safety must come first.
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