The City of Ballinger recently made a detailed request to the Texas Department of Transportation for safety equipment at railroad crossings and a new traffic signal on U.S. Highway 67 in an effort to slow traffic through downtown.

The City of Ballinger recently made a detailed request to the Texas Department of Transportation for safety equipment at railroad crossings and a new traffic signal on U.S. Highway 67 in an effort to slow traffic through downtown.

In a letter sent Nov. 14 and signed by Ballinger Mayor Sam Mallory, the request included railroad crossing equipment for five railroad crossings but most importantly, the railroad crossing at Highway 158, otherwise known as Broadway Avenue. Texas Pacifico Railroad is responsible for the maintenance of the tracks and TxDOT is responsible for upgrades.

“There are people who travel through here and are not familiar with Highway 158 and they do not realize there is a crossing there,” said City Manager Bryan Grimes. “They have to come to a sudden stop and it is dangerous.”

Grimes said this is “by far the most traveled railroad intersection in Ballinger.”

“For motorists driving north to south, they only have a one or two block reaction time to take action to negotiate the railroad intersection,” the request reads.

It goes on to say that the signals “blend in” with the landscape of the area.

“Furthermore the northbound traffic is blinded by a warehouse that is located in the intersection,” the request indicates. “This blind spot does not give northbound motorists any direct view of oncoming rail traffic and presents a hazard. We feel that gate arms at this intersection are required to ensure the safety of all motorists.”

There is also a request for a new traffic signal to be located off of U.S. Highway 67 and FM 2133 to slow traffic through downtown.

Grimes said this a concern due to the potential for accidents, traffic flow and for speed issues.

Tom Johnson, director of operations for TxDOT, said he is aware of the issues, particularly with the railroad crossings.

“That is high on our list,” Johnson said. “That is definitely a candidate for upgrading.”

Grimes said that there has been some discussion on whether to close the 10th Street railroad crossing all together and leave crossings at 6th, 8th and 13th Streets open.

As for the traffic signal, Johnson said a study will have to be done to determine the whether it is needed.

“We are looking at that,” Johnson said. “But this will require an analysis and a traffic count at the area of concern.”

Johnson said he is planning to meet with city officials in the very near future.

In addition, the city is requesting a variance from TxDOT that will allow the city to beautify the downtown area with benches, trash receptacles and banners on city-owned street lights.

“The city and the business community at large feel this will add to the charm of our downtown areas as well as help with debris and litter,” the request indicated.