The Dispatch

Construction creates congestion

Cianna Chairez, Editor-in-Chief

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Photo by: Joe Morales
As the construction at the Slaughter and MoPac intersection increases, students and faculty members living on the other side of the highway are forced to sit in heavy traffic before and after school every day.

For the students and staff at Bowie, the traffic that is caused by the construction adds more time to their daily drive to and from school. People use that time to take an alternative way to get to school. Senior Claire Richardson is one of these students.

“The worst part is that no matter what time of day it is it always takes forever to get where I’m going,” Richardson said. “Because of the traffic I now have to get up earlier to even make it to school on time.”

For senior Sarah Rolan, her alternate way adds time to her drive to school.

“Sometimes [my way] is slower,” Rolan said. “But it’s hard to tell. It frustrates me because I don’t know the most effective way to get to school. I’m using a lot of gas this year taking these alternate routes.”

Rolan has been driving for two years and from her years of driving knew that the traffic to school would be intense.

“I just knew that traffic on the first day of school was going to be really bad so I knew to take the alternate route,” Rolan said. “It definitely makes me pay more attention to the road, but at the same time I zone out when I’m sitting in traffic.”

Along with the construction comes narrower lanes and shifting patterns.

“People run red lights all the time,” Rolan said. “It’s quite terrifying. I trust my instincts as a driver most of the time. It’s other people that I’m worried about.”

For biology teacher Jessica Davis, she worries about the students driving in the heavy traffic.

“Because a lot of them are early drivers, just learning how to drive, and that’s a lot to navigate,” Davis said. “With the construction walls, the narrowed lanes, and the shifting patterns and people on edge. My daughter just got her license in August, and it terrifies me. But hopefully it will make them better drivers. I think they’ll be more ready hopefully for whatever they encounter in the future, but until then it’s nerve wracking.”

The construction on MoPac and Slaughter began in January 2018.

“The worst part about traffic is not knowing how long it will take to get to school,” senior Darcy Kanneman said.

“It has caused me to come close to a wreck almost every day and causes people to be late to school and stress.”

The approved design for the intersection is called a diverging diamond. This design is meant to ease the traffic while safely and effectively allowing vehicles to cross the freeway bridge to get across MoPac. It also allows for easier pedestrian and bicycle access.

“So I looked up a picture of what a ‘diverging diamond’ is supposed to look like,” Davis said. “It’s very confusing and I’m very scared. But hopefully, it will relieve some of that congestion there.”

There are three phases to the construction.

“I have to leave my home sooner,” Davis said. “I find that if I’m there around 7:15 to 7:30 it’s much better, but after that it starts to go downhill. [I have] to get out of the door much sooner if I want to be able to park here.”

The construction is set to be done by early 2021. For Davis, sitting in the extra traffic has made her patient.

“I think it’s having the reverse effect on a lot of people, but I’ve just come to terms with that there’s nothing we can do,” Davis said. “You might as well just find a good station and make the most of it.”

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The student news site of James Bowie High School
Construction creates congestion