Increasing safety concerns on a stretch of Ranch Road 12 between San Marcos and Dripping Springs is pushing Hays County authorities to take action.
The move comes after a major crash killed five people June 19, while several others were seriously hurt in a separate multi-vehicle wreck that took place July 1.
Those are two of the 568 crashes that have taken place along that stretch of RR 12 since 2013, according to Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) data.
So far in 2018, 46 wrecks have occurred on the roadway, according to TxDOT.
Ray Helm, Hays County Pct. 3 Constable, said he is adding several deputies along RR12 to address safety concerns on the roadway.
Although the addition of deputies might be a temporary solution, Helm said he hopes this will help drivers become cognizant of their speed.
“The road is fine, we just have a lot of people traveling on Ranch Road 12,” Helm said. “We have lots of dangerous roads in Hays County, but I am afraid with all the issues of speed and distracted driving, it will get worse.”
In 2006, the Hays County Commissioners’ Court approved a measure to widen the RR12 from San Marcos to the FM 32 junction near Wimberley, which was completed in 2010.
The idea was to protect the environmentally sensitive area when the improvement plans were put into place and for the future, said Will Conley, chairman for the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO).
Conley, who was Hays County Pct. 3 commissioner during improvements on RR 12, said he has worked to improve it for over a decade, building the political capital to ensure the citizens of Hays County trust in the road’s improvements.
In the future, when funds are available, RR 12 will be equipped with a median between both lanes and the potential for lane expansions based on the current plan in place.
The median, Conley said, would help with head-on collisions.
Conley said the roads’ improvement has been designed to maximize the capacity for lane additions in the future. With time, RR12 could be home to expanded lanes, a safety median and a regional trail that would connect Wimberley to San Marcos.
“We are determined to move forward and we planned for massive improvements when that time comes,” Conley said. “But until then, enforcement is a collaborative effort. The road is built and designed to function with safety in mind. Most of the accidents out there are due to negligent driving and we must be responsible drivers to avoid these tragedies.”