8-29-20 New Traffic Light by Rich.jpg

After a long time in preparation, Athens and state officials are ready to flip the switch on the new traffic signal at State Highway 31 and Farm-to-Market Road 1616 next week.

"That's been two years in coming;" City Manager Elizabeth Borstad said. "It was in the summer of 2018 that we submitted the request." 

The Texas Department of Public Safety has scheduled the activation for Tuesday at the intersection that is extremely busy at certain times of the day because Enterprise Drive in the Athens Industrial Park has only one outlet, which feeds into 1616.

"There will be message boards announcing it, so hopefully people will pay attention when it does open," Borstad said.

"Everybody be careful when you go through that intersection," Borstad said.

The intersection became a concern to city officials after two serious wrecks were reported there within a few hours in early 2018.

During a meeting in February, city council member Robert Gross said a family member was involved in an accident there and that five hours later, two other people were in a wreck.

That was the spark that got the project started. Athens officials consulted the TxDOT which conducted a traffic study and reported back to the city.

“The results show that a signal is warranted," said Kathi White said,TxDOT spokeswoman.

"When Councilman Gross brought this up it's been really eye opening about the accidents there," Mayor Monte Montgomery said. "But what's been really eye opening is the businesses in the Industrial Park that stepped forward really appreciating this effort to help them."

From there, TxDOT had to develop a plan and get the project on the schedule. The agency's website shows that the letting and bidding process with TxDOT allows the agency to get the most competitive

pricing on a project and allows multiple businesses to compete for business with TxDOT.

In September 2019, the job was let at a cost of $200,000.

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