City of Austin Seeks to Improve Safety at Dangerous Intersection
The intersection of Braker Lane and I-35 in north Austin has seen 66 crashes in the last five years, according to the Austin Transportation Department (ATD), and the Department is set to try and remedy this issue. $1.25 billion in improvements will be made to the intersection over the next handful of months, including ADA-accessible curb cuts, improved pedestrian crossings, and the possibility of an extended median that would eliminate left turns into some of the retail parking, potentially cutting down on blind-corner accidents.
Road Improvements Mean Fewer Crashes
Despite the fact that construction can be annoying and difficult to navigate around for people in the area, the changes to the Braker Lane area are being made in order to minimize accidents, which have spiked after retail moved into the area. Because there are so many businesses and so much traffic at that intersection that was not there perhaps five years ago, the traffic demands have outpaced the lots’ and traffic lights’ ability to regulate it. Thus, ATD is using funds from the 2016 Mobility Bond to both regulate traffic and improve overall accessibility to the area, especially in specific improvements that will help the city comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).
In particular, median extensions like the one planned for Braker Lane are thought to make a significant difference in the number of traffic accidents at a specific intersection. Statistics from the Georgia Department of Transportation, citing the Federal Highway Administration, estimate that the intersection crash rate on divided highways is only 24 percent of the rate on undivided highways, and also show that on roads that see less than 24,000 vehicles per day, reducing ‘unrestricted’ left turns is generally a major key to reducing crashes overall.
Seeking Redress If You Are Struck
While ATD is doing its due diligence in updating the Braker Lane intersection, it only means that the crash rate should decrease - not disappear. If you are involved in an auto accident in this area, or in an area with a similar layout, you still may have a case against those who might have played a part in causing your injuries. While in most accidents, this means any reckless or negligent driver, in some cases it can also mean a negligent transport authority or contractor who may not have made the road safe enough for drivers. If a contractor or transport agency does not, for example, clearly mark construction zones or cover holes in the pavement, they may wind up being at least partially liable for an accident.
Be advised that in many situations, it is not possible to bring suit against a government agency like ATD, because it may retain what is called sovereign immunity. Sovereign immunity is a common-law concept honored in Texas law that essentially holds that the ‘sovereign’ (the state or local government) cannot be sued - the rationale is that if a governmental entity could be sued by anyone for anything, no governing would take place. The state of Texas has waived much of its sovereign immunity in the Texas Tort Claims Act, but smaller governments may retain it in specific situations - for example, counties or cities may retain their sovereign immunity, depending on the type of potential lawsuit.
Ask Our Experienced Attorneys for Help
While it remains to be seen what the ultimate fate of the Braker Lane project will be, the fact remains that it is sadly common for traffic accidents to happen in and around city or state construction, because it is not well marked or well protected. If you have been injured in this type of accident, you need an attorney who understands the situation and has dealt with this type of suit before. The dedicated New Braunfels car accident lawyers at the Bettersworth Law Firm are happy to try and help you. Call our office today to schedule at 888-392-0039 for a free consultation.