Recommendations made to improve a dangerous Paris intersection

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PARIS, TX-- The Traffic Commission met Tuesday night to discuss a Paris intersection that many call the most dangerous in Lamar County.

The commission hopes the new recommendations they are sending to the city council will finally solve the problem to help prevent accidents and save lives.

The intersection at FM 1497 and Loop 286, in Paris, has been the site of seven fatalities since 2000--the most recent, on June 3rd, killed two Texas A&M Commerce Basketball players and injured two others.

Last month, after an out pour of concern from residents, TxDOT installed two new stop signs, with flashing lights, hoping to improve safety at the intersection, but Assistant Paris Police Chief and Traffic Commission Liaison Randy Tuttle, says they haven't been effective.

"We're finding out that there are a lot of motorists that are ignoring that stop sign and just driving straight through the crossover," said Tuttle.

Tuesday, the Traffic Commission voted to send a recommendation to the city council, that the city consider taking control of FM 1497 from Loop 286 to Church Street, a stretch that is currently owned and maintained by TxDOT.

They also recommended closing the crossover.

"It will solve that issue with the crossover, as far as the accidents that we have where the motorists pull out in front of the vehicle on the loop," said Tuttle.

Resident James Walker says safety measures already in place at the FM 1497 and Loop 286 intersection are enough. It's drivers' responsibility to be more attentive.

"If you drive without consciously realizing what you're doing, you're going to have a terrible accident there," said resident James Walker. "Putting an overpass or anything of that nature there would be an extravagant waste of taxpayers money."

Many other residents believe more needs to be done to improve safety at the intersection.

"It needs immediate attention to stop this because the next wreck is going to be tremendous because of the stopped traffic in the middle of the intersection," said resident Ralph Taylor.

Tuttle says they are awaiting results from a traffic count and a speed study that was recently done by TxDOT.

He hopes to have this item on the city council's agenda as soon as possible.