WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Two intersections between Hutto and Taylor, Texas, on U.S. Highway 79 are being referred to by truck drivers as “the intersection of death,” according to Victor Ruvalcaba, who works in construction and frequently drives his semi-truck on these roads.
The specific spots on US 79 are Limmer Loop and County Road 101, both of which are popular routes for truck drivers traveling east to west, according to Ruvalcaba.
The two rural roads intersect with US 79 and require vehicles to navigate access onto a highway with a speed limit of 65 mph without traffic lights stopping cars in both directions.
“The biggest problem is you have trucks weighing 25 to 40 tons, and when they get to Highway 79, they go from a dead stop to a very slow attempt to cross. It will not take a long time before you’ll start seeing severe collisions and death,” Ruvalcaba said.
KXAN pulled crash data from the Texas Department of Transportation, or TxDOT, and found at least 50 vehicles involved in crashes at the location of these two intersections since 2020.
According to TxDOT data, two of these crashes resulted in deaths.
Bob Kerzee, a local Taylor resident, told KXAN he drives through these intersections every day to get to work and said he’s witnessed numerous wrecks because of trucks having to cross oncoming traffic on US 79 off these roads.
“There needs to be something done,” Kerzee said.
In 2017, Williamson County conducted a corridor study specific to this section of US 79, which ultimately led to the approval of the safety and mobility project in 2022.
The project funded by the 2019 voter-approved county road bonds and TxDOT will widen existing roads and will eventually include the construction of an overpass on US 79, according to TxDOT. The estimated cost for the first phase of the project is approximately $65,870,000, according to TxDOT.
According to Williamson County, the first phase of the project is expected to be completed in summer 2025.
Ruvalcaba says he hopes traffic lights are installed in the interim to keep people safe.
KXAN asked TxDOT if there were plans to install traffic lights while construction continues. TxDOT told KXAN that while the project is on a TxDOT roadway, it is being led by Williamson County.
KXAN has reached out to Williamson County and will update this story as soon as a response is provided.
“It poses a huge danger not just for truck drivers but for everyone in the city who drives this road,” Ruvalcaba said.