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Self-described traffic safety advocate seeks low speed limit for new Highway 77 frontage road

Self-described traffic safety advocate seeks low speed limit for new Highway 77 frontage road
Posted at 8:20 PM, Mar 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-09 23:14:14-05

KINGSVILLE, Texas — Lance Hamm of Kingsville has a pretty good idea of when he became a self-described citizen traffic safety advocate.

“I was hit by a driver just about a mile up the road," he said. "My car was totaled. And that kind of got me started in highway safety."

Hamm's accident happened on Highway 77 in a section that's currently the site of a construction project to build a new frontage road.

The road runs in front of the subdivision where Hamm lives, and when it's completed, he urges city and state leaders to set the speed limit at 45 miles-per-hour — slower than the 55 mile-per-hour speed limit for the main lanes of the highway.

“I am concerned for my family and for my neighbors of just the speed of the traffic out here," Hamm said. "And the traffic — the drivers may not be obeying the speed limit the way it is now."

It's unclear when the construction of the new frontage road from General Cavazos Boulevard to Kleberg County Road 2120 will be complete.

When that happens, a Texas Department of Transportation spokesperson says that's when their process of determining a road's speed limit begins.

After studying the road, TxDOT will take their findings to the Kingsville City Commission and ask for an ordinance establishing the speed limit they select.

Hamm thinks 45 miles-per-hour should be the initial setting, and then adjustments could be made from there.

“It’s preventative," he said. "And if we do it after the fact, and there’s a crash, then I didn’t do my job as an advocate to get the speed down before there was a crash."

Hamm says his research, that can be found on his website, indicates the ten mile-per-hour difference between a 55 and 45 mile-per-hour speed limit makes a big difference during a crash.

He says the benefits outweigh the extra time added to the drive of the short section of road because of having to drive more slowly.

“We think 50-percent reduction in blunt force trauma is a very good trade off for the inconvenience of a driver spending an extra 23 seconds coming down this highway,” Hamm said.