The lighting drivers expect on some of the busiest Dallas freeways may be dark for years during construction which makes the roads more hazardous.
The lights are out on I-35E just north of Downtown Dallas and through part of Oak Cliff just south of The Trinity River.
Driver Doug Carter said he regularly drives all of that stretch from his home in Southern Dallas County to a job in North Dallas.
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“It’s very difficult,” Carter said. “You’re driving at night or when I leave, early in the morning at 6:00, you can’t see anything.”
Carter had the brakes replaced on his vehicle Friday at a shop on I-35E R.L. Thornton Freeway.
“I have to because I hit my brakes every 5 seconds,” Carter said.
The shop overlooks a freeway ramp to Illinois Avenue where a car overturned beside a construction barrier Friday afternoon.
Shop manager Joes Balllesteros said wrecks are common there.
“We see them all the time since construction started,” he said.
Ballesteros drives the freeway too and said the lack of lights makes the construction barriers more risky,
“The exits are right there, so you got to be on the lookout,” Ballesteros said.
Driver Irby Foster recently went to Dallas City Hall to complain to the City Council about several freeway construction zones without lights in Dallas.
“Y'all are leaving miles of our freeways dark at night, which is unacceptable. I seek your help to communicate with Oncor, TxDot and the city staff that they will maintain street lighting during construction,” Foster said.
Oncor spokesperson Briana Monsalve said Oncor would repair lights that TxDot reports in need of repair.
TxDot spokesperson Michelle Raglon said conduits were cut for construction that supply electricity to some I-35E lights in the middle of the freeway and the conduits may not be replaced until work is done, which could be 2020.
She said the median lights are a safety enhancement beyond basic requirements. She said TxDot inspectors regularly patrol the freeways at night and that lane markings and reflective signs in the construction areas meet basic safety requirements.
Carter still prefers lights.
“It’s very difficult to see what lane you’re going to,” he said.
A City of Dallas spokesperson said city officials discussed the issue with TxDot officials and TxDot noted the comment.