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Columns March 6, 2018  RSS feed

Letters to the Editor

The Buffalo Press encourages its readers to submit letters. We must reserve the right to edit for length or to not publish. However, every effort will be made to maintain the intent of the writer. We will publish almost all of letters to the editor. Letters to the editor reflect the opinion of the writer and not the editorial stance of The Buffalo Press.

Hello, my name is Rev. Joy M. Richards and I am the pastor of the First United Methodist Church in Centerville. I have been pastoring here for the last 9 years and have sadly watched many wrecks happen and/or deaths on Hwy. 7 in Leon County, Texas. I am writing to you to request help in resolving many of the problems associated with Hwy. 7 I feel led by the Lord to get involved in gathering people to support this effort. What I am requesting is that we be granted turning lanes for Hwy 7 plus, any other needed changes to alleviate our problem of too many wrecks and/or deaths in Leon County.

We went before the Leon County Commissioners Court on 2/28/18 and they were in full support of this effort to give relief to our citizens on Hwy 7 from having to face harmful driving conditions daily. They are sending in recommendations attached in this letter. Judge Ryder was very much in favor as well as all other members of the Court. They approved our requests and sent recommendations to Tx. Dot.

I have appointed Lynda Bradley to chair this committee at our church with my full support. Under both of our leadership we will continue to strive to get resolution to what is needful. My goal is to have resolution to this issue by getting improvements that help solve the issue. We need passing lanes implemented straightway. My hope is that immediate help is gained in making this happen.

We do plan to meet with the engineer of Tx. Dot within the next few weeks, as soon as an appointment can be obtained.

My hope is to implement better traffic flow by having passing lanes as well as turning lanes built on Hwy 7. My desire is that we stop the “dying on Hwy. 7.”

I do not want to lose any more people due to having hazardous driving conditions.

As a pastor I believe this action needs to happen for the greater good of Leon County citizens. I truly believe as a community we can insist upon these changes straightway and with your help we can get this resolved immediately.

Both Lynda and I will work very hard together to achieve our objective for Leon County residents. We will be strong women on this issue set before you, who wish to help our citizens in this being accomplished.

We are actively soliciting community involvement, state and federal involvement.

We look forward to a meeting with you soon. It is my hope that you will support this very important issue facing Leon County residents with whatever is necessary to get this funded and underway straightway. And yes, that includes changing present plans to do so.

It would suit us best if while the present work on Hwy 7 is being done these truly needed additions could also be implemented. It is my belief that with due diligence, you will be able to discern that our current traffic problems will not be solved by only adding shoulders and widening the hwy. While that’s appreciated, in my view it falls short of the resolution of the problem. “We request passing lanes be implemented and also turning lanes on Hwy 7.”

Thank you for your considerations, and I will look forward to seeing you at your earliest convenience and request an appointment to be set to discuss our concerns. See the attachments for details of what is requested as well as a letter from Lynda Bradley with her views expressed.

My cell phone is the best way to contact me. 979-571-3200 to set up an appointment to discuss what help you can render.

Rev. Joy M. Richards,

Dear Senator Schwertner,

As a property owner with frontage on State Highway 7 (SH 7) in Leon County, Texas, I am very concerned about the safety of all motorists who travel this busy east Texas highway. Since 2010, many vehicle accidents resulting in 15 deaths and numerous injuries have occurred on the stretch of highway from the west side of Leon County to the Trinity River on the east side of Leon County.

Today, in Leon County Commissioners Court, Joy Richards, Pastor of First United Methodist Church in Centerville, and several church members asked the Court to support the upgrade of Leon County SH7 to a Super 2 highway because of the heavy truck and vehicle activity that occurs over the mixed terrain corridor. Commissioners Court agreed to send letters to the Texas Department of Transportation and the Texas Department of Public Safety for action.

Although the Leon County section of SH7 is currently under construction to widen the lanes by adding 10 ft. shoulders as well as a couple of turning lanes at two FM roads (on the east of Centerville section), additional designated turning lanes at intersecting county roads (where known deaths have occurred) and intermittent passing lanes for short distances in both directions are needed. Research shows that passing lanes provide added benefit by reducing crashes, delay and percent time spent following and reveals a 35% reduction in expected non-intersection crashes with injuries.

A few years back, a death occurred in front of our property on SH7 when a family was traveling on their way to a Thanksgiving family reunion. The car was packed with passengers and Christmas gifts when the vehicle was run off the road (by an unidentified driver) into a large fence post in front of our property, killing the male driver. We are reminded of this terrible accident each time we see the antler Cross hung by the family in remembrance of their loved one who lost his life that dreadful day.

While SH7 is still under construction, we request TxDOT take action to make additional changes as described above. Judge Byron Ryder is arranging a meeting with Lance Simmons at Tx-DOT and, if you can further assist in any way in making SH7 safer, please contact me at the address/ email above or call me at 409-771-6701 (cell).

Lynda Bradley
Chairman of Hwy 7
for First United Methodist Church
Centerville, TX

Below is listed contact information for Leon County State Senator and Representative. Add your voice to those requesting safe highways.


Charles Schwertner
State Senate District 5
Capitol Office: EXT

Capitol Address: P.O.
Box 12068, Capitol Station Austin, TX 78711 Capitol Phone: (512) 463-
Email: Charles.schwertner@senate.texas.gov
District Address: 3000
Briarcrest Drive, Suite
202, Bryan TX 77802
Phone: 979-776-0222


Trent Ashby
District 57
Room E2.414
P. O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78568
Phone: 512-463-0508
District Address: 2915
Atkinson Drive, Lufkin,
TX 75901 Phone: 936-

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