Construction on Collin County highway confusing drivers

- There is confusion and some crashes in Collin County as construction led to lane changes where two highways intersect in Melissa.

The lanes were adjusted about two weeks ago at the Highway 121 and Highway 5 interchange just east of Central Expressway. The stretch of highway has become increasingly dangerous for a number of reasons, and police want people to be aware of it.

TxDOT contractors switched the traffic pattern on the highway as part of a project to widen Highway 121. Lanes merging from one highway to another have been reversed.

In two weeks, more than half a dozen crashes have occurred in Melissa. One of them was fatal.

Shannon Sweat lives nearby and sees close calls nearly every day along this 55-mile-an-hour stretch of road.

"Other than the electronic sign, when you're coming off the highway, there's no more speed limit signs in the work zone saying this is the speed limit,” she said.

In a statement, TxDOT says “prior to the traffic switch, several detour signs and electronic message boards were placed to highlight the change. TxDOT has since double-checked that the road is adequately striped and safety measures are in place."

Despite the confusion, Mellissa Asst. Police Chief Roger Thornhill says the road has the appropriate signage.

"The message is simply this: If you'll just slow down, reduce your speed, you'll have more reaction time to avoid a crash,” he said. “What we're doing is we’re increasing our visual presence here passing through more often, just hoping that that alone will be ensuring to help people slow down."

Melissa police say they are stepping up enforcement and awareness.

TxDOT says the construction will be going on until the project is completed at the end of this year.

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