Concerned residents meet to discuss FM 2102 safety issues
by Joe Baker
Sep 21, 2012 | 1492 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
KARNES COUNTY – A group of 26 concerned residents and officials met on Sept. 11 to organize a group with a goal of improving the safety of FM 2102, a local highway that has suffered damage as a result of recent heavy truck traffic.

FM 2102 intersects Texas Highway 72 less than half a mile southwest of Kenedy, and going west, continues about six miles until it intersects FM 626.

The meeting was hosted by Rob Cowen with Industrial Safety Solutions and was moderated by Ron Hyde.

According to information sent from organizers of the meeting, Hyde suggested the group organize under the name the FM 2102 Road Coalition.

“Our disintegrating county roads were not designed for such heavy traffic,” Hyde said. “Although the county has more money now to address its road maintenance, it is disproportionately low compared to the current need.”

Those at the meeting expressed concerns about the safety of all roads in Karnes County but is focusing its efforts on FM 2101 because of what are described as “extreme unsafe conditions.”

Karnes County Judge Barbara Shaw attended the meeting and spoke to the group about difficulties encountered by counties seeking funding for road improvements from the state. Shaw said Karnes County and surrounding counties are frustrated by lack of state funding for road improvements.

Lonnie Gregorcyk, attended the meeting representing TxDOT, and expressed his concerns about safety on FM 2102 as well as other roads in the area.

Gregorcyk told those at the meeting that a contract was been let to improve FM 2102 and work on this project is expected to begin in the next few weeks. He said the contract was awarded to Brannon Construction of Victoria and would widen the highway from 20 to 28 feet wide. The project is exoected to take 5 to 6 months to complete.

One of the concerns expressed at the meeting, is that the proposed improvement project is not a long term solution to improve safety on FM 2102.

Gregorcyk explained that there is no direct connection between “need” and “funding” when it comes to state funding for highway repairs and improvements. The state severance tax is deposited into the “Rainy Day Fund” which has and is being used to offset the increase in the state’s Medicaid costs.

In an interview with The Karnes Countywide Monday, Gregorcyk encouraged local residents to call the local TxDOT office to let TxDOT know where there are problems with local highways or a need to make changes for the sake of improving road safety.

The group discussed ways to contact state legislators to bring attention to the problem.

Karnes County has experienced a number of fatal traffic accidents and those at the meeting said they are looking for a way to avoid any future accidents or deaths.

“Given that the severance tax on the wells, just in Karnes County, will probably total in the billions of dollars across the next several years, it makes sense that our county should request at least a small percentage of those funds to support the safety of its citizens,” Hyde said.

The group plans to meet again and will announce their meetings in advance in The Karnes Countywide and also on KAML Radio AM 990.
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