Taking the Detour

Natasa Dobras, Alex Ruiz, and Fatimah Dixon

Recent overpass construction causes inconvenience to students campus wide by increasing the flow of traffic around the school.

In 2016, news of a future overpass construction was released to the public. The project began by closing off a section of Western street and building a bridge. A few months ago, the project enclosed the intersection of Bell and Hollywood, the area surrounding Randall. This construction remained harmless to students, until the school year began a week ago. Students now face an enormous amount of traffic on Hollywood road due to the closing of traffic lanes. The recent construction has provided many concerns for the student body regarding attendance and tardies.

“As of right now they (tardies) shouldn’t be affected,” Principal Singleton said. “If you look at where we are right now it’s going pretty well.”

The current flow of traffic is manageable, but within the next few weeks the area north of the West parking lot will be closed off for construction. This will cause an increase in traffic because students will be limited to only two entrances into the school; Valleyview road and Sundown lane. Unfortunately, the schedule of the construction will remain uncertain due to the current condition of the weather according to Singleton.

“When construction is complete you can expect it to look similar to what you would see at I-27 Hollywood,” Singleton said. “Kind of like an I-40 overpass.”

Until the construction is completed, the student body will have to create adjustments in their schedule such as leaving their home earlier than normal, according to Singleton. However, these are not the only changes that concern the student body.

“It’s really annoying during lunch, especially,” senior Jared Romero said. “Getting to school–it delays my transit.”

When asked the travel time to get to school compared to other years, Jared Romero said that this year it takes an additional five minutes minutes. However, he proposed that the since the Liaison Officer is usually around, he should direct the flow of traffic.

“The first day of school I left 30 minutes early, and I live 10 minutes away from the school,” senior Christian Rios said. “The entrance to the east has damaged my car because the dirt…is not packed in well enough, so my car has a big…dent in the front.”

For many, the construction proves to be inconvenient, yet adaptable, as they are still able to get to school on time. People who use detours, such as Sundown Lane, have seen less traffic and have less trouble getting to school.  

Other students, such as junior Jadynn Lueb, say taking Sundown “does not really affect me, but it just makes it harder to get into the parking lot. I can usually get to school on time,” Jadynn Leub said. “I usually get here around 7:50 everyday.”  

Along with the great deal of  inconvenience the upcoming construction project has brought, the amount of concern from students, parents and faculty members on student safety has risen as well. The growing concerns include the amount of student involvement in wrecks, speeding, distracted driving, and driver awareness during construction projects. Principal Singleton has spoken multiple times on his concerns for the upcoming road closures, as well as notifying fellow students and parents. Singleton’s biggest interest is making sure the students are safe.

“We’re all about our students, and taking care of us. We want to make sure everybody drives safe” Singleton, said.

The most important ways to prevent wrecks during this time is to be more aware when driving, managing your time, and gaining knowledge on the projects before they start. Randall county police officers, as well as the school liaison officer are working together by monitoring traffic around the affected areas to ensure that students are cautious drivers in and around the school zone.

“(We encourage students) to be a little more aware” Singleton, said.