HELOTES, Texas – Improvements to FM 1560 and Bandera Road completed late last year, which cost an estimated $5 million, were designed to improve the traffic flow in the increasingly busy area.
The people who packed the parish hall at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church on Monday afternoon, told representatives with the Texas Department of Transportation, however, that the project created a dangerous intersection nearby at FM 1560 and Riggs Road.
Lucia Hernandez, a parishioner at Our Lady of Guadalupe, said she found that out just before Easter after leaving Mass one evening.
“I was hit from behind when I turned right. (It was) somebody coming over that blind curve from Bandera,” Hernandez said. “That’s a big mess that’s happening there.”
As it is now, FM 1560 curves off of Bandera Road onto a new bridge with cement barriers that TxDOT was told also create a blind intersection at FM 1560 and Riggs Road.
Steve Mendoza, another parishioner and a member of COPS-Metro Alliance, which organized Monday’s public forum, said the curve was “poorly engineered.”
The Helotes Police Department reported that so far, there had been only two accidents since the project was finished, both due to traffic violations or driver error, not a lack of visibility.
“It’s only a matter of time before someone gets seriously injured,” Mendoza said. “Everybody’s been put on notice that that’s a death curve. Somebody’s going to die.”
“We acknowledged Riggs Road is going to be a challenging intersection," said Clayton Ripps, director of advanced transportation planning for TxDOT.
Ripps told the gathering it was the best option because drivers could travel any direction any needed.
Ripps said, even so, “We want to refine what is there today. We want to work with you.”
Although several temporary measures will be taken to try to alleviate the situation for now, Mendoza said the issue will be revisited in three weeks.
He said the main issues remain: excessive speed and drivers don’t have a clear line of sight.