Tuesday, August 8, 2017

ROADSIDE MEMORIALS ARE SOBER REMINDER TO THE LIVING

By Juan Montoya

The March 2006 crash at the intersection of Dana Road and FM 802 was horrific, as first responders told a jury that was sitting on the case involving a drunk driver who was charged with three cases of intoxication manslaughter.
Today, that intersection has a traffic light it did not have before to prevent accidents like the one that took the three lives.

But there is also a poignant memorial erected at the site next to a drainage ditch where the victims' vehicle ended up after being struck by the defendant's car.
As you pass it, you may notice the three crosses standing alongside the right-of-way in a carefully tended site on the side of the road.

Three lives, one of a Border Patrolman and those of a U.S. Customs agent and her husband were lost that day. And the defendant now sits in a penitentiary serving four life terms, for all practical purposes, dead to the outside world.
Visitors from outside South Texas often comment on the proliferation of roadside memorial markers that dot the roadways here. They say that although memorial markers are also erected in other states, for some reason or other, they are more numerous and ornate here.


But what many don't know is that the Texas Dept. of Transportation has polices concerning the erection of such memorials which guides those wishing to honor the memory of loved ones who have perished on the state's roadways.

Not only do the guidelines control the erection of the markers on what materials can be used, their height and width, but also the categories of memorials for different types of markers.

Memorials are limited to traffic-related fatalities occurring on the state's highway system. Only a family member can request that a marker be placed along the right-of-way. A non-family member might also request one, but is required to include a written permission from the family.  No more than one marker is allowed per victim.

Memorials fro victims of impaired drivers, victims of motorcycle crashes and markers to honor peace officers killed within the line of duty are also allowed and have specific guidelines a requester must follow.

According to the TxDOT guidelines, the markers should be placed in a way that does not distract motorists as overly ornate markers may tend to draw motorists' attention from the road and present a safety hazard. Preferably, the markers should be placed near a utility pole or at the edge of a non-mow area.

The website suggests that those persons wishing to erect a memorial marker should consult with the local TxDOT maintenance office to ensure proper and safe placement.
If a markers is set up incorrectly and has to be removed, the maintenance crews are required to have 30 days to try to find the marker owner prior to disposal.

It is probably of small comfort to the survivors of the victims that something alongside of the road reminds passing motorists that someone they loved died there. But to the state, it is primarily intended to remind passing motorists of the dangers of unsafe driving.


For more information, click on link: http://onlinemanuals.txdot.gov/txdotmanuals/use/memorial_markers_within_the_right_of_way.htm

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sad but necessary. Earth cannot support more people.

Anonymous said...

They're not ornate. They look like garbage someone threw to the side of the road. Look up the word ornate, bro.

Anonymous said...

TxDot will remove them because they don't want the trouble to mow around it if and when they do cut the grass. The expressway area in Brownsville is the worse in the valley and Saenz says it is because they have so much to do. So, hire more people! There are so many that do not have a job. Put the prisoners at the Lucio Hotel on 511 to work out the use of their color TV's and all the andemities provided for them in the air-conditioned hotel suite. Look at the area at the old Lincoln Park - a self-designated wild-life refuge for taquaches y ratones. Leave those symbols of love and rememberance along. Also, don't send 10 people to patch up a hole with one shovel and the rest supervising. This can been seen all the time by TxDot and the City. Oh, if McAllen is helping out by cutting the grass, why can't Brownsville do that, too. Leave it to
Brownsville, pero la Palm Blvd y la Ebony street estan bien chulas para que los mire el blue jean mayor.

Diego Lee Rot said...

Las carreteras son muy peligrosas

rita