WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — One Seymour woman is gathering signatures for a safer intersection following a tragic greyhound bus wreck at the intersection of Highway 277 and Highway 183 in Mabelle on Monday, Sept. 14.
Kelly Fest said an overpass on that stretch of road is long overdue.
Meanwhile, TxDOT officials express that it’s not as simple as just signing a petition and getting the project.
“Not one more death,” is the goal for Fest when it comes to the intersection.
Fest said she was already at the hospital with her mother when the ambulances carrying victims from the fatal bus wreck began arriving.
“It was hot in there, I got goosebumps and my hair just stood on end,” Fest said. “I got tears in my eyes. It was heartwrenching. People were howling; people were screaming.”
Fest put her concerns to paper by creating a petition for an overpass.
“Highway funding is a little complicated, it’s not like they just say ‘how much do you want’,” Texas Department of Transportation Public Information Officer Adele Lewis said. “We have to have warrants and reasons.”
Lewis adds that even if the state warrants an overpass, getting a chance to build it is another story.
“Those safety projects that we give to the state are in competition, as you would, with all the other safety projects that need to be implemented across our entire state,” Lewis said.
The intersection at Mabelle is frequently crossed and TxDOT said it has already put in a lot of work, with more to come in the future.
“We flattened out a curve for westbound drivers as they left that intersection and we also fixed the vertical profile of the intersection for sight distance for people traveling northbound,” Lewis said.
“How many busloads of kids go back and forth there every Friday night for football games,” Fest said. “For Vernon, Quanah, Archer City, Munday, Benjamin, everybody goes past there every Friday night with a busload of kids.”
Fest adding her concern for if a school bus accident occurs at that intersection.
“If it happens to a kid, we will never be able to forgive ourselves if we don’t do something about this,” Fest said.
Fest petitioning that the state take another step towards safety.
“What’s it gonna take before we do something about it and prevent the future deaths,” Fest asked.
To find the petition, you can reach out to Fest via Facebook.
Lewis said TxDOT is already in discussions for the next step to improve the intersection.