Olney residents want Hwy. 79 speed limit lowered due to recent wrecks

Olney residents want Hwy. 79 speed limit lowered due to recent wrecks

WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - Residents who live on Highway 79 in Olney have been concerned for years now about the speed limit. Recent wrecks have them wanting to see a change soon.

One resident who wanted to remain anonymous said, “You've got animals around here, people go across the street to check their mail.”

The speed limit is 75 mph, which the resident feels puts their safety at risk, “I actually do a U-turn in my yard so I can pull out and see the traffic coming on.”

When the sun is not helping to illuminate the road, it can make it even harder to watch out for oncoming drivers.

For years D.J. Meschkat has been driving to Olney from Graham for work at seven every morning.

“It used to be 55. I don’t know exactly when they changed it,” he said, “Anyone coming from that direction – New Castle or Graham - is going to be making a left turn here in the dark. So, they’re usually going to pass you on the shoulder at 75 miles-an-hour. Just a few weeks ago one of the employees at Cemco was trying to make the left turn, and I guess somebody didn’t see them or they were going too quickly, but they actually swerved to the left into the oncoming traffic lane.”

The highway patrol officer who worked the accident said that the speed limit needed to be changed.

For there to be a change, TxDOT has to conduct a study, which anyone can request they do. But a study will not guarantee the speed limit will change. Some factors that come into play are whether or not the area has seen growth in recent years, or if there are dangerous circumstances.

Considering that last summer an elderly woman was hit by an 18-wheeler along the stretch of road, residents think there are more than enough reasons to lower the speed limit.

“I think we should reduce the speed limit to 55 mph…” Meschkat said.

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