AUSTIN (KXAN) - Six people have died trying to cross Interstate 35 in the stretch between Highway 290 and 51st Street since 2007. Now, Austin police are in talks with the Texas Department of Transportation to determine if barriers would prevent pedestrians from trying to cross the Interstate.
"Our recommendation is that something needs to be there," said APD Lt. Troy Officer. "One of the things we came up with is some kind of center barrier that makes it less attractive for people wanting to cross."
TXDOT is studying several options, since representatives first met with APD officers in July.
"We've talked about some type of glare fence that goes on top of the concrete traffic barrier in the center of traffic," said TXDOT Spokesperson John Hurt. "It's not meant as a pedestrian obstacle so we're not sure if that's a use that we can employ."
Another option is increasing the height of the concrete barrier itself which also means expanding the base which is the most costly option.
"The taxpayers would ultimately foot the bill," said Hurt, who added, "It may pay off dividends in the end because if it puts an end to the tragic number of pedestrian fatalities we've seen in Austin in the past few years- it may actually be worth it."
Officer said he envisions some sort of fence or netting above the concrete median- spanning the length of I-35 from 51st Street to Highway 290 in order to discourage people from trying to cross. The idea is only in the planning stages and no definite solution has been reached.
"The extra 15, 20 minutes it takes to walk from the middle of an area to one intersection or the other is worth your life," said Officer.
Overall, six people have been killed since the beginning of 2012 trying to cross major highways in Austin. The second most dangerous area is I-35 South near Slaughter Lane.
Sub-freezing temperatures are forecast to continue in many areas through Sunday morning. Combined with an overrunning moisture pattern and upper level disturbance, some light freezing drizzle or sleet may form Saturday into Sunday morning.
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Sub-freezing temperatures and an approaching upper level disturbance could combine to produce some patchy freezing drizzle or sleet Saturday and early Sunday morning.