Mineola resident Angie Ruffan asked Wood County commissioners last week to lower the speed limit through a curve in Highway 37.
Ruffan, said the curve between Garner Lake and Long Lake between Quitman and Mineola should not be 70 miles per hour. She has written to the Texas Department of Transportation requesting a speed study in an effort to reduce the speed.
She said she expects Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to come out to perform the study this week.
“This is kind of a formality. I wanted this to be put on the record. I have requested with TxDOT that they lower the posted 70 miles per hour to 55 miles per hour,” she said. “Essentially, from Lake Brenda going towards Quitman there is a 55 mile per hour speed limit right when you get to County Road 2444, which is almost parallel with Roselawn Cemetery, the speed limit jumps up to 70 miles an hour. So we’re essentially requesting that an additional mile be added as a buffer zone whether it is 55 or 60 miles an hour.”
She pointed to the dangers of a curve with a high speed limit and a mix of vehicles on the highway.
“Because what’s happening, these big semis, trucks at Walmart or any traffic altogether they’re hitting their gas pedal right when they get to the cemetery where a lot of funeral processions are going on. They’re having a hard time pulling the hearse out to try to get on the road safely,” Ruffan said. “They’re throwing their engine brakes on. They’re skidding off the road.”
She also told the commissioners about the daily problems she faces just pulling out of the driveway.
“It is essentially a blind driveway. So when I go out either going north or south on Highway 37 I risk either being rear-ended from behind or t-boned. When I pull out, it also scares the other driver, it puts them in danger,” she said. “They see me pull out and I seemingly come out of nowhere. So their natural instinct is to pull away and when they do that they’re pulling head on.”
During the three years she has lived in this area, she has documented at least three accidents. Most recently this June, care flight had to come take injured people off the road and the highway was shut down. There has also been a school bus accident and a car once flew into her neighbor’s lawn.
“There is no indication that there is going to be a curve. There is no reduction or advisory speed slow down curve,” she said. “I truly believe with all my heart that this could save lives. When you reduce the speed to 55 miles per hour, you are decreasing the road noise as well.”
Presiding over the court in the absence of County Judge Bryan Jeanes, Precinct Two Commissioner Jerry Gaskill responded to the Ruffans’ comments.
“We did send a letter to TxDOT requesting a speed study to be done there. That’s the part that the commissioners play in that,” Gaskill said. “As far as the sound and all that, TxDOT that’s their highway and their right-of-way, but we did send a letter to them.”
Her husband, Jim Ruffan, asked the court to consider prohibiting engine brake on the curve. He also requested police presence for a Halloween ninth through 12th graders’ party.
Gaskill told him to talk to the sheriff or constable about law enforcement on Halloween.