AUSTIN (KXAN) — After a deadly multiple-vehicle accident on RM 620 Wednesday afternoon, safety officials are voicing their concerns.
Austin-Travis County EMS reported crews were called out after 3 p.m. to 4221 North RM 620 Road, which is near Mansfield Dam Road close to Lake Travis.
The Texas Department of Public Safety said a 56-year-old Taylor resident, Thomas Martinez, crossed the center turn lane and started the accident. DPS do not know what caused Martinez’s Tahoe to cross into oncoming traffic.
Texas Department of Transportation officials said road improvements are in the works to address safety concerns.
“I think we live in a great part of Travis County. It’s rolling hills, beautiful trees and gorgeous sunsets, but there are a lot of things that can district you from what is going on in front of you,” said Braden Frame. “We have been doing everything we can for years trying to make that stretch of land safer.”
Frame is the president of the Lake Travis Firefighters Association. He said he and his team respond to probably one accident a day. The Lake Travis Firefighters cover a long stretch of 620 from the Oasis to Bee Cave.
“The accidents seem to happen a lot, because the debris out here seems pretty consistent,” said Nicolas Solomon.
Solomon lives nearby and can attest to the number of accidents along 620. Solomon said he’s gone as far as writing into TxDOT about the debris left behind after a wreck.
While distracted driving plays a huge role in the number of accidents, keeping up with the rapid growth in the area is another.
“We have called on state legislatures, county commissioners and TxDOT to all work together in partnership to make sure the roadway’s ability to handle the traffic matches what’s out there,” he said. “Obviously we have seen that 620 is overcrowded; we’ve seen a lot of growth in the area. Whatever the traffic engineers do, what we want to see is a better investment in western Travis County.”
TxDOT is currently looking at several areas of improvement along 620. The department just wrapped up a refinement study along RM 620 to the Colorado River Bridge to U.S. 183.
TxDOT is also considering the 2040 Regional Transportation Plan. It would address traffic and safety from RM 620 South between SH 71 and Hudson Bend Road. The 2040 plan would do so by adding two more lanes to the four-lane highway, raise the medians and also add a continuous bike path.
“No matter how the road is designed, how you are driving makes the biggest impact on whether or not you get to your destination safely,” said Frame.