TxDOT to install safety measures on Hewitt Drive near Midway Middle School | #schoolsaftey

The Texas Department of Transportation next week will install new “safety delineation” measures on a busy stretch of Hewitt Drive near Midway Middle School.

The work, scheduled from Tuesday through Thursday on the roadway just south of Panther Way, is intended to improve safety by limiting unsafe traffic movements, TxDOT officials said. The plastic barriers are similar to those used to separate north- and southbound on South Valley Mills Drive near Interstate 35.

“(Some) vehicles on Hewitt Drive turning left onto Panther Way … drive through that convenience store parking lot to bypass the signal,” Waco District TxDOT spokesperson Jake Smith said in an interview. “We’re trying to limit that movement due to potential conflict with vehicles and pedestrians. We are not taking away access to the parking lot. We are trying for safety reasons to limit the number of vehicles turning into the convenience store parking lot.”

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In recent years, several pedestrians and cyclists have been struck and injured on Hewitt Drive around Midway Middle School. On Nov. 10, a middle school student was treated for non-life-threatening injuries after being struck by a bus at Regal and Hewitt drives.

Midway ISD Superintendent Chris Allen said he was unfamiliar with the latest TxDOT project, but added that “the safety of our students is always a top priority for our district, and we welcome any measures that contribute to a safer environment for everyone in our community.”

The barriers, which cost about $14,000, are part of a much larger effort to improve traffic flow and safety around Hewitt Drive.

Big Creek Construction in October completed an $8.5 million city of Waco project to reconstruct Mars Drive with concrete, adding a turn lane and sidewalks to the road that intersects with Hewitt Drive near Midway Middle School. The project, which was approved in 2021 and begun in early 2022, included 1.6 miles of Mars Drive and 0.6 miles of Old Hewitt Road.

The project also included 2,600 linear feet of drainage infrastructure and 200 linear feet of waterline. Improvements were intended to improve access to several industries on or near Hewitt Drive, in addition to Midway ISD facilities.

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