The improvements are part of a project, two years in the making, to improve the highway from the Live Oak County line to the Karnes County line.
All that remains is one more layer of asphalt and to paint the highway stripes, says Precinct 2 County Commissioner Dennis DeWitt, who — responding to an escalating frequency of traffic accidents, some fatal, on the highway — urged the Texas Department of Transportation two years ago to study the effects of traffic density on the highway, mostly 18-wheel trucks, associated with Eagle Ford Shale oil operations.
The school zone lights are operating. In the morning and afternoon, when students arrive and leave the school, the speed limit drops to 40 mph. Department of Public Safety troopers have ticketed a number of drivers speeding through the school zone.
The original plan for the school zone included rumble strips, but their installation now is uncertain.
DeWitt expects a final asphalt overlay to be completed soon.
Pawnee residents, such as Bill Allen, are grateful. In an email to DeWitt, he wrote, “Thanks again for all the hard work from you and the TxDOT team. It is welcomed and greatly appreciated.
DeWitt mirrors the sentiment:
“TxDOT deserves a huge thank you for going above and beyond for the citizens of Bee County.”
And Pawnee students.
Bill Clough is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 122, or at beepic@mySouTex.com.