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Traffic safety advocate, Kleberg Co. judge call for roadway reform after Falfurrias toddler death

Kleberg County Judge Rudy Madrid told 3NEWS that he is working on solutions to improve safety conditions in the area.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A local advocate is seeking change after a toddler died while traveling with family on Hwy. 77. 

3NEWS confirmed with DPS that the driver was trying to pull out of a gas station when the car was t-boned by an oncoming vehicle.

Lance Hamm serves as a highway traffic safety advocate to make changes to area roads and make them safer for drivers. He has successfully advocated for other speed limit decreases in the area.

Hamm travels Hwy. 77 regularly and said that going north on Rivera the speed is posted at 75 mph. However, south of Rivera near the Valero station, the speed is posted at 70 mph. The quick change in speed doesn't allow drivers enough time to adjust and enter traffic safely.

"Sadly change usually takes place after a fatality," he said. "This little girl from Falfurrias is a victim and the community didn't save her life and that's a shame. Because up and down Hwy. 77 there has been multiple fatalities. What we need to do to get change is ask TxDOT to use context sensitive solution to lower the speed limit."

3NEWS also spoke to Kleberg County Judge Rudy Madrid about the issue. He said he is also working tirelessly along with the Kleberg County Sheriff's Office to make the area safe for his residents. Madrid said the construction going on also adds extra hazards.

"We've lowered speed limits -- cut off turnarounds -- we are trying to eliminate anyone from having to stop at all in this work zone. But the folks aren't slowing down and its putting our citizens at risk and we aren't going to tolerate it," he said.

Madrid said the sheriff's office is going to crack down on enforcement when it comes to those violating the speed limits. He added that they still have several more years of construction because I69 goes through Kingsville, Ricardo and Rivera. 

3NEWS reached out to TxDOT for comment and a spokesperson said they are in the process of developing a relief route on Hwy. 77.

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