SE Loop 286 turnaround

A car approaches the Southeast Loop 286 turnaround in front of Paris Towne Center on Jan. 10. TxDOT is looking at closing the turnaround, known for frequent vehicle collisions, which police say is due to the short distance to it and a loop on ramp.

The Texas Department of Transportation is expected to begin working tomorrow on closing a turnaround that city and state officials have deemed to be unsafe.

The turnaround, located on Southeast Loop 286 immediately off the ramp from Lamar Avenue, was considered unsafe because vehicles entering the loop from the ramp have very little space to get across both lanes into the far-left turning lane, Paris Police Chief Bob Hundley previously told The Paris News.

In 2017 and 2018, there were eight crashes at the intersection, Hundley said.

In addition to closing the turnaround off the ramp, TxDOT will lengthen the next turnaround, located at Dawn Drive, the next available crossover after the turnaround being closed.

Regarding the use of the Southeast Loop turnaround at Dawn Drive, at least one resident of the Morningside neighborhood voiced concern about increasing traffic use there, but Paris City Councilwoman Paula Portugal in an emailed response said TxDOT area engineer Dan Perry “assured me that this will not be a huge increase in traffic or accidents.”

“Rather it will improve safety,” she wrote. “The city had requested the possibility of this change due to risk under the current turnaround.”

Construction is expected to last two months, and the speed limit in the construction area will be reduced to 50 mph for the duration of the work, to ensure safety. TxDOT Public Information Officer Tim McAlavy could not be reached for additional comment by press time.

Tommy Culkin is a staff writer for The Paris News. He can be reached at 903-785-6972 or at tommy.culkin@theparisnews.com.

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