Contact: Gene Powell
Phone: (432) 498-4746
Date: Nov. 8, 2021
ODESSA - A pedestrian safety project is scheduled to start this month on FM 2020, which is better known locally as West University Boulevard. Sidewalks will be added on both sides of the road from West Loop 338 to Knox Avenue.
The project features six-foot wide sidewalks on each side of the FM 2020 corridor. Pedestrian signal buttons will be installed at pedestrian crossings at West Loop 338, Tripp Avenue, Redondo Avenue, Moss Road, and FM 1936.
Since 2010, there have been four reported pedestrian fatalities on the road. The reported deaths occurred in 2011, 2014, 2019, and 2020. Nine other incidents have resulted in “suspected serious injuries” to pedestrians.
“We’ve seen pedestrian deaths increase in our 12-county area with 19 pedestrian deaths already reported this year,” Odessa District Engineer John Speed said. “While we incorporate pedestrian safety elements in virtually every major project we do, a standalone project like this underscores how serious TxDOT is when it comes to safety for everyone who uses our corridors. We still need the traveling public, both pedestrians and motorists, to maintain safe practices on our roads, but this project is certainly a positive step for those wanting to walk along FM 2020 in West Odessa.”
Lane closures will be necessary for the project, but the plan is to limit lane closures to daytime working hours. Lane closures should not be in place at night unless there is an unforeseen safety concern.
The project was funded through the federal government’s Highway Safety Improvement Program. HSIP is a federal safety construction program to reduce the number and severity of traffic crashes. This program allows states to target funds to their most critical safety needs. TxDOT districts submit projects for funding. The Texas Transportation Commission selected this project as part of its Road to Zero mission. In May 2019, the Texas Transportation Commission established the Road to Zero goal. The Road to Zero goal is to reduce the number of deaths on Texas roadways by half by the year 2035 and to zero by the year 2050. When establishing this goal, the Texas Transportation Commission acknowledged that most motor vehicle crashes are preventable and directed TxDOT to develop and implement strategies to achieve the Road to Zero goal. The Texas Transportation Commission has initially supported the Road to Zero goal by allocating an additional $600 million in Category 8 (Safety Programs) in the 2020 10-year Unified Transportation Program in the first two years of the program. TxDOT evaluates candidate Road to Zero projects by considering roadway safety factors, crash reduction factors, and project completion times. TxDOT is dedicating this Road to Zero funding to targeting and reducing fatalities and suspected serious injuries in crashes with contributing factors such as lane departure, intersection safety, and pedestrian safety.
TxDOT also has the Texas Traffic Safety Program, which is a federally funded effort to reduce the number and severity of traffic crashes, injuries, and fatalities through education, training, and enforcement. The program provides grants to state agencies, private nonprofit associations, and local jurisdictions for projects focusing on areas such as occupant protection, selective traffic enforcement, driving while intoxicated prevention, traffic records, and roadway safety. The program’s goal is to modify driver and passenger behavior, and the program is a critical component in TxDOT’s effort to improve transportation safety. The Traffic Safety Program’s extensive public information and enforcement efforts helped increase safety belt usage to 91 percent in 2019. For 2020, the Texas Traffic Safety Program has budgeted approximately $92.5 million for 327 traffic safety projects statewide.
To accommodate construction of 6-foot-wide sidewalks along FM 2020, the shoulders and pavement width will be reduced. The number of lanes will remain the same.
Advance flashing warning beacons will also be installed at Business Interstate 20 and Faudree Road (FM 588) as part of the project.
Ti-Zack Concrete Inc. of Le Center, MN, won the project with a low bid of $8,342,144.
This project is another step in TxDOT’s #EndTheStreakTX campaign which encourages Texans to drive safely to help end the streak of daily deaths on our roadways. November 7, 2000, was the last deathless day on Texas roadways. Since then, at least one person has died on Texas roadways every single day. That adds up to more than 70,000 motor vehicle fatalities since Nov. 7, 2000. To raise awareness of the need to #EndTheStreakTX, in 2019, TxDOT and the Texas Transportation Commission promoted the #EndTheStreakTX campaign to encourage drivers to make safer choices while on the road. While TxDOT continues making improvements to the highway system, all Texans must work toward ending crashes involving distracted driving, speeding, and drunk driving. These crashes are all preventable. Everyone can help by spreading the word and telling loved ones to buckle up, pay attention while driving, get a sober ride home, and drive to conditions.
The Texas Department of Transportation is responsible for maintaining 80,000 miles of road and for supporting aviation, maritime, rail, and public transportation across the state. Through collaboration and leadership, we deliver a safe, reliable, and integrated transportation system that enables the movement of people and goods. Find out more at TxDOT.gov. "Like" us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.