Swift Workers Could Get Help Crossing Highway - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Swift Workers Could Get Help Crossing Highway

Thirteen people in nine years... That's how many have died while crossing the street to work at Swift Meat Packing Plant in Cactus, with the latest victim being hit just under two weeks ago.

Things could soon be changing to make the walk to work a little safer. We're told the most recent death on Highway 287 was the last straw...now TxDOT, Cactus, Moore County and Swift are spearheading an effort to put a blinking traffic light across from the plant. There are spray paint markings on the street that serve as an all too real, almost eerie, reminder. "Right now if you drive over there you can see the markings from where that lady died. We drive through there everyday," says Imedla Maldonado, whose been working at Swift for the past twenty seven years.

She knows all too well the dangers of crossing the busy highway. "I was talking to one gentleman one day and the next day he got run over." Just to give you an idea of exactly how many people cross the highway, NewsChannel 10's Kristen Guilfoos says she counted thirty nine people cross the highway in ten minutes, while she was on assignment. Right now, the speed limit in that area is 55, but TxDOT says reducing it isn't up for discussion. However, they're hoping the blinking light will encourage folks to slow down.

One Swift worker says the recent death hit especially close to home and now he's changing his driving habits. "She was my aunt... Now when I'm driving, I pay more attention because I see so many pedestrians crossing the street not paying attention," says Hassan Ismail, who along with being the victim's nephew, also has worked at Swift for the past four months.

TxDOT says they wish they could do more, but their hands are tied. The money just isn't there. As for the possibility of a pedestrian bridge in the future, Maldonado isn't giving up hope yet. "I can see the light at the end of the tunnel." The City of Cactus is expected to approve the blinking light at a meeting this week. If approved, the project will cost about 18-thousand dollars and should be completed by the end of July.

Powered by Frankly