A recent major collision at the corner of Burleson Street and the southbound frontage road of Interstate 35 in Kyle is leading local and state officials to improve safety in the area.
The initiative, which involves the city of Kyle and the Texas Department of Transportation, comes after a Jan. 13 wreck when an intoxicated driver t-boned a vehicle attempting to turn right onto the frontage road.
Mayra Alejandra Guijarro Cisneros, 28, of Guadalajara, Mexico, was charged with intoxication assault with a vehicle, a third degree felony, and reckless driving, a Class B misdemeanor. Hays County Jail records show authorities also issued an Immigrations and Customs Enforcement detainer against Cisneros.
According to a Kyle Police accident report, a black 2008 Chevy HHR SUV, operated by Cisneros, was traveling in the far right lane of the southbound access road of Interstate 35 when it failed to “adhere to roadway signs.”
The HHR drove straight through the turn lane and collided into the driver side of a 2010 silver Toyota Venza. Four people in total were injured in the wreck and suffered non life-threatening injuries.
According to the report, contributing factors to the accident included alcohol, failure to follow directional signage and unsafe speed. It is unknown at this time, however, what Cisneros’ the blood alcohol content.
Amid all of the factors, Scott Sellers, Kyle city manager, said the city restarted discussions with TxDOT, which owns the intersection, for additional safety improvements.
In 2017, TxDOT fulfilled a request from Kyle city officials to improve striping at the intersection following a fatality wreck.
Sellers said the city is requesting that TxDOT extend striping further north to give motorists “an understanding” the far right lane is turn-only. Other requested improvements include additional delineator posts to “punctuate the deceleration lane,” along with relocating Burleson Street signage further north.
Sellers said TxDOT has been “good to work with” and that the city has shared accident data for the intersection.
“TxDOT does understand something needs to be done and is reasonably accepting of the proposed improvements,” Sellers said.
Jeff Barnett, Kyle Police chief, said additional measures include asking officers to monitor traffic violators and dangerous driving behaviors in the area.
Officers have observed issues for drivers who are exiting the interstate and attempting to reach the far right turn-only lane. Meanwhiile, those drivers often contend with commuters who are merging left to avoid the turn lane.
“The more advance warning to drivers as they are approaching the mandatory right lane would give them more room to safely move to the left, if they choose,” Barnett said.
Acceleration improvements from Burleson Street onto the frontage road, however, are not being explored by the city at this time.
Instead, the city is planning for improvement when they build a road that connects Marketplace Avenue at the roundabout to the frontage road.
The connector is a “bid alternate” to Kyle’s $8 million Burleson Street improvement project, which was approved by voters in the city’s 2013 bond. Currently, the city is negotiating with a local landowner for right-of-way (ROW) easements for that connector.
The road would feature a two-way road with a dedicated turn lane and would also have improvements to acceleration and deceleration onto the frontage road. Construction of the connector would be in conjunction with improvments on the south part of Burleson Street.
Sellers said Burleson Street would be turned into a cul-de-sac just before the low-water crossing.
“Just because of the time it takes to engineer an acceleration lane, especially at that location with the presence of the creek, it’s more valuable to focus on a deceleration and acceleration lane for the Marketplace extension,” Sellers said.
Sellers said if the “timing works out,” the city could have a new Marketplace extension within 18 to 24 months.
“Once we hear back from CAMPO (Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization) on whether this project is federally funded will determine how quickly we proceed with the project.”