Intersection in Mesquite Hills gets traffic lights following several crashes
Traffic lights were installed at an intersection in far northeast El Paso after several crashes occurred in that area.
A spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Transportation said the lights were installed at Mesquite Hill Drive and Gateway North, and at Mesquite Hill Drive and Gateway South.
Drivers should expect to see the lights flashing red and yellow because they are in the testing phase.
The lights will be fully operational Monday, the spokeswoman said.
The intersection had a stop sign, but the lights were planned after a study was done in the area. TxDOT said that in 2016, six crashes happened in the intersection; none were deadly. In 2017, there were 11 crashes and two people died at the intersection.
CBS4 spoke to three young boys who lost their mother in one of those deadly crashes. The crash happened after someone ran the stop, hitting the vehicle Amanda Hamil and Carlos Villanueva were traveling in. Both Hamil and Villanueva were ejected. Hamil died as a result of her injuries.
Flashing lights were also installed before the traffic lights to warn drivers.
“While we hope the addition of this traffic signal increases safety in the area, we can’t emphasize enough the need for drivers to obey traffic laws, especially speed limits and traffic signs and signals,” said TxDOT district engineer Bob Bielek. “The majority of crashes occur as a result of failure to control speed, driver inattention or a combination of both.”
Before traffic lights are put up at a location, the local district office conducts an engineering and traffic study on the area requested through the state highway system. TxDOT officials said that in order to get a new signal light installed, traffic conditions must meet at least one of nine minimum standards. In the case for the Mesquite Hill Drive intersection, the number of crashes relative to the traffic volumes is what led TxDOT officials to install the light there.
For more about the process go to: https://www.txdot.gov/inside-txdot/division/traffic/traffic-signals/evaluation-traffic-signals.html.