FM 646 construction

Trucks and cars drive off Interstate 45 northbound on the exit to FM 646 in League City on Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2018. The Texas Department of Transportation has been working on an expansion project, but the construction has been inconvenient for people that frequent the area.

There might be some things the Texas Department of Transportation could do make the work zones along Interstate 45 near League City safer, but there are definitely some things drivers could do to achieve that.

A Daily News reporter interviewed several League City residents this week who are concerned about their own safety and that of other drivers who have to navigate the work zones often, sometimes twice a day on weekdays.

They suggested better lighting and signs that better warn drivers about traffic flow changes might make the work zones safer.

A spokesman for the transportation department said the signs, lights and other safety devices had been placed according to construction plans and design standards. That means they meet at least the minimum requirements of what a safe work zone ought to have.

The transportation department should inspect the work zones and ask itself whether the methods and devices as they exist on the ground are actually sufficient, or whether they are sufficient just on paper.

The bottom line, though, is that there is only so much the state can do make traveling along any road safe, work zones or not.

The largest share of that burden falls on drivers themselves, who far too frequently fail in their responsibilities.

If everybody tomorrow would just slow down, back off and stay in one lane unless there’s a reason to change lanes, every mile of road everywhere would be safer by far than it is today.

Rising water costs demand a change in thinking

The city of Galveston warns that water is going to get more expensive over the next five years. The costs could go up by nearly 30 percent as the city’s supplier, Gulf Coast Water Authority, passes along increases in its own costs and as the city makes capital improvements to its water system.

This is not a Galveston issue. Cities all over Galveston County and Texas will be facing the same increasing costs as demand for water increases and supplies shrink.

People can and certainly will grouse about that, but what we should be doing is rethinking how we use water and adjusting our concept of what’s cost-effective and what’s not.

We need to rethink what a proper yard looks like, for example. Many homeowner associations need to amend their rules to allow more efficient alternatives to traditional yards and landscaping.

We need to consider things such as residential graywater irrigation systems and large-scale desalinization systems.

Demand for water is going nowhere but up in Texas, where the population grew by 542,432 — 2.1 percent — from 2010 to 2017, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

• Michael A. Smith

Michael A. Smith: 409-683-5206; michael.smith@galvnews.com

Editor

(9) comments

Ray Taft

A common denominator missing in Michael Smith’s editorial is government complicity.

TxDOT is complicit concerning the dangerous road conditions. “A spokesman for the transportation department said the signs, lights and other safety devices had been placed according to construction plans and design standards. That means they meet at least the minimum requirements of what a safe work zone ought to have.” They could do more than the minimum. Common decency dictates that TxDOT’s first priority should be to protect drivers by making the roads safe according to the prevailing conditions. The dangerous prevailing conditions TxDOT caused by their minimum safety standards. The almighty TxDOT has failed to properly protect drivers. And Smith goes along with their recklessness by blasting drivers for their failures.

Government needs to fix their deficiencies before they tell citizens to ration water. Smith’s ‘The Daily News’ has published several articles concerning the county and cities loosing millions of dollars worth of water each year, due to leaks and breaks in the water systems. Smith ignores that in his editorial and goes after citizens instead.

Mr. Smith stand up for the citizens of Galveston County instead of kowtowing to your elitist cronies in government.

Rusty Schroeder

I laughed earlier when reading the article, although driving habits do contribute to many accidents and frustration in the I 45 construction process. For 1 thing there is no signage saying the exit to 518 is closed and to use the Hwy 96 exit. If there is I have not seen it or it's been knocked down by the construction crews. The best part of the story though is telling people what a yard should look like and reassess landscape designs, that is comical. This is the man that called described League City as "a highly livable city that attracts highly desirable companies that employ highly desirable people". You think those people are turning off their water sprinklers to use gray water? Do you think the new baseball fields on 53rd have turned off the water sprinklers since June? The answer to both is NO. As for as a de-salinization process, the cost of that type of plant and regulations to operate it are a bigger "study tank" than the Ike Dike and Clear Creek flooding combined.

Standing up for Galveston County citizens is not Mr. Smith's job, his job is to convey the opinions of the Galveston County Daily News. The company that employs he and his wife, 2 of the 3 top positions outside of the publisher of the paper. So if standing up for Galveston County citizens is a priority Mr. Taft, I would suggest forming or joining a local group and voicing concerns directly to representatives of that concern. Not to someone that writes editorials and opinion for a county paper that he lives outside of. Just my opinion. rs

lauraelder Staff
Laura Elder

Just for the record, Michael and I live and own property in Galveston, not outside the county.

Ken Hufstetler

I agree with Ray Taft. But, the article did touch on another significant part of the equation. "If everybody tomorrow would just slow down, back off and stay in one lane unless there’s a reason to change lanes, every mile of road everywhere would be safer by far than it is today." When a few drivers attempting to get to work or to some appointment, driver speed becomes a part of the equation. Where there is just a small opening, there is a rush to there. Seems to me a little driver courtesy would help us all and leaving for our trip just ten minutes earlier will help relieve our stress and causing stress around us.

I am retired and try to stay off I45 during the busy hours. When I do have to go for a doctors appoint or something I can't reschedule, I notice a big difference in the number of aggressive drivers.

George Croix

The truck goes bumpity bumpity bumpity...
The tire dealer says it's not the tires fault, it's bad wheels...
The wheels dealer says it's not the wheels, it's bad tires...
They both say that the truck manufacturer has suspension issues.

The simple facts are that the construction crews, the state highway department, and drivers all share in making the bad situation(s) worse.
The construction crew could KEEP the blasted signage posted as required and immediately fix it when it falls/gets knocked down.
The state folks could go check daily to be sure that's done and do some reaming if it's not.
The drivers could put down the phones and stop trying desperately by all means to get to their destination 11 seconds faster.

Jose' Boix

Perhaps it is time to revisit the International's Aerocar (often called the Taylor Aerocar); an American roadable aircraft, designed and built by Moulton Taylor in Longview, Washington, in 1949. Although six examples were built, the Aerocar never entered production. One of then was owned by actor Bob Cummings. Maybe the time is now...

George Croix

Think about this, Jose'.....
The same people who can't drive 6 feet without putting most of their attention on their cell phone would, with the Aerocar, be doing that while ABOVE your head, and adding the additional effects of vertical drop impact velocity to forward air speed when they slammed into you.....
The Aerocar must wait until stupid, if not fixed, is at least further minimized.....imo...
[beam][beam][wink]

Jose' Boix

George, agree; I just could not pass the share of the "blast from the past"!

George Croix

We're showing our age(s)......[beam][beam]

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