Council members approved signing a resolution informing Texas Department of Transportation that the city rejects TxDOT’s proposed central median on Highway 96 through Lumberton.
“We met with Sen. Robert Nichols and Rep. James White (after) TxDOT informed us that they wanted to put a median down the middle of 96,” Mayor Don Surratt said.
It would eliminate the center turning lane which raised serious objections from city officials.
TxDOT cited the amount of vehicle traffic and the number of accidents as cause for the construction of a median on Main Street.
“There are too many wrecks,” Lumberton Police Chief Danny Sullins said, “as we have about 15 a month.”
About 1.8 million cars travel the road annually, Sullins said, adding he doubts a median is the answer to curtailing crashes.
In surrounding communities where a main artery passes through town, the travel speed is restricted to 30 or 35 mph.
“Ours is 45 mph,” he said, saying a median would just add to the problem.
Council discussants emphasized the traffic jam that a single school day would bring with buses on restricted travel lanes.
Surratt said they brought the proposal to the attention of Nichols and White, who “suggested we put that opposition in the form of a resolution.”
On Monday, the approved resolution (6:0) was read into the record:
Whereas, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is considering the installation of an elevated median through Lumberton on Highway 96/ Main Street; and
Whereas, Highway 69/96/287 is a major evacuation route for many residents in surrounding areas and the roads are already too small to handle evacuation traffic as it often backs up into Beaumont during normal work day commutes; and
Whereas, loss of revenues to out businesses will be devastating to our city sales tax revenue as it will be difficult to access many business entrances; and
Whereas, the City feels other options such as slower speed limits, permanent installation of digital “your speed is” or similar signage, or other such measures should be considered; and
Whereas, in summary, the City of Lumberton feels the installation of an elevated median would be detrimental to our community and should only be considered as a Last Resort;
Now, Therefore, be it Resolved by the Mayor and the City Council of Lumberton, Texas, that the City of Lumberton opposes this proposal from the Texas Department of Transportation.