Accidents pile up along Hwy. 249


Cred. 249 TX SH

Map of the 3 segments of construction.

Faithlyn Leveillee, Opinion Editor

Fourteen months, 14 miles, 101 accidents, and a spike in concern and controversy surrounding a road that is used by more than half of the Tomball population.

For over a year now, the 249 Hwy Extension has been in progress, issuing concerns from the community for the increase in traffic and accidents.

“It’s pretty hectic,” senior Abi Baldwin said. “The light changes fairly quickly, all the time; you get to the red light and you’re sitting there for fifteen minutes, wondering when it’ll change and people run it all the time.”

Since construction began, August of 2018, there have been over 100 reported accidents along roads, hotspots including the intersection of Hardin Store Road and the intersection of Patridge Lane.

But unlike many construction sights, a majority of the accidents were not from any kind of 18-wheeler or dump truck-related incidents.

“I would say that the amount of accidents has for sure increased, but mainly because of people being impatient at the lights, running them and making turns when they shouldn’t,” Tomball police officer Courtnay White said.

The project, in whole, is broken up into three major sections: Section 1A, Section 1B, and Section 2. Section 1A reaches between FM 1774 to FM 1488 and so far construction has reached the intersection between FM 1774 and FM 149 The project is said to be moving farther down the 1774 strip later this fall.

But this movement has only increased the concern of the constructions and its impact on the roadway conduct, affecting not only the community itself, but the Tomball ISD Transportation system, along with many staff and students.

“It is taking us a lot longer to get students [home], especially since they’ve closed the crossover in Decker Prairie, adding some time on the routes,” TISD transportation dispatcher Rachel Foster said.

The traffic, while provoking accidents, has also caused many students to avoid the road altogether.

“I don’t even go that way, I avoid it [249] entirely in my morning route,” senior Bishop Van Buran said.

Increasing accidents along the road have also increased the concern for safety in driving tactics across the board, including new drivers, such as students, as well as experienced drivers, even those who have driven along the road for numerous years.

“I think that once everything is done, it’s going to help [the traffic],” Assistant Principal Mark Vierkant said. “But the more information kids have as far as safe driving habits, I think, is really important.”