AUSTIN, Texas — The fastest highway in the country (with a posted speed limit of 85 miles-per-hour) opened Wednesday, October 24th south of Austin — and already there’s an unexpected problem.
Even before Wednesday’s opening celebration, Lockhart police officers were worried. Two nights before Highway 130 opened through Lockhart, officers captured video on their dashboard cameras, as a pack of wild hogs ran across the highway.
“Anyone that’s ever struck a deer — they know that they’re in the ditches and you don’t see them until they’re in front of you and it’s the same with these but they’re even lower,” Lockhart Police Chief Michael Lummus said.
On the very first night the road was open through Lockhart, three cars crashed into packs of wild hogs. Another crash was reported outside the city limits in Caldwell County. One car was totaled and had to be towed away.
“I don’t know that there’s an easy fix because even if you drop the speed limit to 60 or 65 it’s still a problem,” Chief Lummus said.
The feral hog population is so bad in Caldwell County, there is a bounty on them — $2 for each tail.
However, with packs like those seen on Highway 130, Chief Lummus doesn’t see the problem going away any time soon. He has this advice for drivers:
“A lot of the problem comes when people try to avoid something. You’re probably better off if you hold your course and go through it where you have a good grip on the wheel. It’s a hazard that you almost have trouble trying to understand ‘what’s the best thing I can do here’ except be aware and alert and maybe be on the watch and maybe slow down even though the law says you can drive 85,” Chief Lummus said.