The Texas Department of Transportation temporarily shut down a section of FM 1669 between U.S. Highway 69 south and state Highway 103 east after vehicles were damaged.
TxDOT was notified at 7 a.m. Friday that the section of road was soft in the wheel paths of the roadway in both lanes, said Rhonda Oaks, Lufkin district spokeswoman. The road reopened for travel around 7:30 p.m., with a 35-mph speed limit advised.
“About 500 or so feet of the roadway was spot-sealed yesterday by Angelina County Maintenance,” Oaks said. “The material had passed testing within the last few days and the section was good until early this morning when several motorists reported damage to their vehicles.”
TxDOT Lufkin District has nine counties and each county has a maintenance office. The Angelina County Maintenance Office is comprised of TxDOT crews who work in Angelina County, Oaks said.
“The county is not involved,” she added. “This is a state-maintained road, so it’s our maintenance crews.”
One driver who wished to remain anonymous said she was on the road around 8 a.m., driving into Huntington coming from FM 1669, when the damage occurred, causing her vehicle to become inoperable.
Her vehicle was towed, and she said she does not yet know the extent of the damage.
“Our crews placed proper barricades and signage, and I alerted the public through social media that the road was closed,” Oaks said. “Crews are placing a mixture of lime and water on the affected area, which will eliminate the soft asphalt. Crews continue to monitor the area and begin repairs as weather allows, and we continue to research the cause of this incident.”
However, the woman who provided The Lufkin Daily News with photos and information said no road signs were up to indicate the potential for damage at the time she passed around 8 a.m.
“The road was fine early this morning,” Oaks said. “Once we learned about it, which was about 8 a.m., we immediately closed the road. Closure signs, barricades and cones are set in this area.”
TxDOT is restricted by the Texas Tort Claims Act and cannot pay for damages incurred on the roadway, Oaks said. However, she invites anyone who suffered damage from this event to go to txdot.gov and click on the “Contact Us” button in the top right hand corner of the home page.
“We regret that there were several vehicles which had to be towed from the roadway and other motorists that reported asphalt on their tires,” Oaks said.
If anyone experiences technical difficulties, email the information to AskTxDOT@TxDOT.gov or call the number listed.
“The form will go to the TxDOT Occupational Safety Division, which in turn, will issue the proper documentation for motorists to take to their insurance providers. They can also contact me at Rhonda.Oaks@txdot.gov or call me at (936) 633-4395 with any questions,” she said.
“Again, TxDOT regrets this has happened, and we will continue to research this incident and release any additional information as it becomes available.”
Oaks said they hope to have the roadway opened to traffic by 5 p.m. with message boards placed for a suggested speed of 35 mph.
Crews will return on Saturday to place a final surface on the roadway.