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#1 2007-08-30 19:30:26

Kevin
Administrator
From: Tanglewilde
Registered: 2004-09-08
Posts: 6,929

Accident on Spur 527 death ramp!

There was an accident on the Spur 527 Death Ramp earlier this evening. Here are a couple of (bad) photos from my cell phone:

Of course, as TXDOT's PR representatives love to say, there's nothing wrong with the ramp.

Nothing to see. Move along. Unless your 527 merge turns out badly and you must be towed.



Link to post:  http://www.bloghouston.net/item/5651

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#2 2007-08-30 22:11:01

Neal Meyer
Member
From: Houston
Registered: 2005-12-19
Posts: 686
Website

Re: Accident on Spur 527 death ramp!

The TX-DOT personnel and contractors who designed and built that ramp should be forced to drive on the Spur 527 Death Ramp every day until they retire - that is if they were to make it to retirement. It's for reasons like this that I often wonder whether the government should be in the business of building roads to begin with.

Neal


It's one thing to read or listen to what people say they want. It is far more important however to watch what people actually do. That is when you can make a judgment as to what it is that people really value and what is genuinely important to them.

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#3 2007-08-31 08:23:53

kjb434
Member
From: Cottage Grove - Houston
Registered: 2007-07-23
Posts: 630

Re: Accident on Spur 527 death ramp!

I wouldn't blame TxDOT.  The true culprits are the local residents and businesses that fought against any expansion of right-of-way.  TxDOT will readily admit that the spur does not meet all AASHTO design standards for safety of a full speed freeway, but they adjusted speed limits and met all requirements through signage for safety.

As a civil engineer in the private sector, it does bother me whenever TxDOT gets blamed for something they were forced to do by local residents and other public entities.

I'm watching this scenario play out on the US 290 expansion also.  TxDOT continually gets blamed for doing things the agency is instructed by law to do.  Now, the Texas Transportation Commission is another story.  Going after this commission is for it's ineptness and lack of regard for public input  is fair game.  TxDOT is forced to enact whatever they produce.

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#4 2007-08-31 10:21:06

Jason
Moderator
From: Houston, TX
Registered: 2005-08-05
Posts: 187
Website

Re: Accident on Spur 527 death ramp!

Umm, maybe I missed something, but I used the Spur a lot when I was still working on the streets.  It was a life saver for me getting out of Hwy 59 traffic.  I never had any problems with it.  Was this accident caused by the Spur itself?  Or someone's negligence?


Can I get a woof woof!

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#5 2007-08-31 10:36:38

Kevin
Administrator
From: Tanglewilde
Registered: 2004-09-08
Posts: 6,929

Re: Accident on Spur 527 death ramp!

Jason wrote:

Umm, maybe I missed something, but I used the Spur a lot when I was still working on the streets.  It was a life saver for me getting out of Hwy 59 traffic.  I never had any problems with it.  Was this accident caused by the Spur itself?  Or someone's negligence?

The reconstructed ramp onto the Spur from Milam is very short and cramped, and has limited sight lines.

We nicknamed it the 527 Death Ramp some time ago because of these problems. For new highway construction, it is really disappointing.

I don't know the details of this particular accident (I just stumbled upon it), but I think it is probably safe to say that the limited sight lines and cramped merge contributed to this accident (and if not this one, then others).

TXDOT spokespeople, of course, deny that there's any problem at all, which is annoying. That merge is definitely a scary one.

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#6 2007-08-31 14:18:53

Neal Meyer
Member
From: Houston
Registered: 2005-12-19
Posts: 686
Website

Re: Accident on Spur 527 death ramp!

My own thought is that although the on ramp which merges into traffic is short and cramped, it is the concrete barrier which is about 4 feet tall which makes it very difficult for drivers who are already on the freeway to see or judge whether drivers are on the merging ramp. Also, the barrier between the on ramp and traffic lanes runs nearly all the way to the merging point itself.

As a matter of practice, I will try to drive in the left hand lane whenever possible to avoid that merge point. If I find myself in the right hand lane I will slow down in an attempt to make a check for vehicles which might be on the ramp, a very difficult thing to do. Slowing down will hopefully allow for a last second bailout if some aggressive driver on the merging Death Ramp is hell bent on getting his or her way and refuses to yield.

My thought is that if TX-DOT would lower the concrete barrier about 12-18 inches and remove the last several feet of the on ramp barrier, then visibility of oncoming traffic from the on ramp would improve substantially and that would in turn improve safety. That is what causes my heart to skip some beats when I drive that stretch of road.

Neal


It's one thing to read or listen to what people say they want. It is far more important however to watch what people actually do. That is when you can make a judgment as to what it is that people really value and what is genuinely important to them.

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#7 2007-08-31 20:09:21

Vernon Guy
Prolific Commenter/Volunteer Greeter
Registered: 2005-04-23
Posts: 562

Re: Accident on Spur 527 death ramp!

Neal Meyer wrote:

My own thought is that although the on ramp which merges into traffic is short and cramped, it is the concrete barrier which is about 4 feet tall which makes it very difficult for drivers who are already on the freeway to see or judge whether drivers are on the merging ramp. Also, the barrier between the on ramp and traffic lanes runs nearly all the way to the merging point itself.

As a matter of practice, I will try to drive in the left hand lane whenever possible to avoid that merge point. If I find myself in the right hand lane I will slow down in an attempt to make a check for vehicles which might be on the ramp, a very difficult thing to do. Slowing down will hopefully allow for a last second bailout if some aggressive driver on the merging Death Ramp is hell bent on getting his or her way and refuses to yield.

My thought is that if TX-DOT would lower the concrete barrier about 12-18 inches and remove the last several feet of the on ramp barrier, then visibility of oncoming traffic from the on ramp would improve substantially and that would in turn improve safety. That is what causes my heart to skip some beats when I drive that stretch of road.

Neal

Neal is exactly right on this.

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#8 2007-08-31 20:49:41

rorschach
Member
From: Spring, Texas
Registered: 2005-01-05
Posts: 3,926
Website

Re: Accident on Spur 527 death ramp!

Actually, no he isn't. Neal I luv ya bud, but you are wrong on this. The height of the barrier is a legal mandate from the feds I think, I really do not think it would be possible to lower it. There may well be other changes that could be legally made, but that is not likely to be one of them.


http://redinktexas.blogspot.com/
"If ever a time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin.”
Samuel Adams

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#9 2007-09-01 03:56:49

Neal Meyer
Member
From: Houston
Registered: 2005-12-19
Posts: 686
Website

Re: Accident on Spur 527 death ramp!

Rorschach,

I was pondering why it was that the Spur was rebuilt the way it was. One idea that ran through my head was to alleviate noise mitigation complaints for the neighborhood which is adjacent to the Spur. Another was because of some governmental mandate which I was not aware of.

Neal


It's one thing to read or listen to what people say they want. It is far more important however to watch what people actually do. That is when you can make a judgment as to what it is that people really value and what is genuinely important to them.

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