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Our Daily Travels on the via Crusis

Matthew McConaughey in Classic Car

Well alright, alright, aaah no!  Though Matthew McConaughey may be ready to “dale gas” behind his classic Chevy Chevelle, commuting across the Rio Grande Valley can leave you enraged and confused.

Saint Matthew has not experience the via crusis that starts in San Juan, but is not around the Basilica, but along the Pharr interchange of Interstates 2 and 69C.  The colossal $303 million project stretches for eight miles and is attended by 500 construction workers.

Are they gone yet?  When will we be free of this perverse traffic limbo?  It’s been two … whole … years.  The Census tells us the average Valley commute is under 23 minutes.  Lie.  The Census was completed in April 2020, before construction started in 2021.  If you’ve been late for a meeting across the Valley, chances are … you’ve gone through Pharr.

Rush hour traffic on Interstate 2
Rush "hour" traffic on Interstate 2

So, who are our fellow motorist?  Most vehicles are occupied by a single commuter, typically driving one of the most common vehicles in Texas:  Ford F150, Nissan Altima, Chevy Silverado, or Toyota Camery or Corolla.  Most trips are without mishap.

However, next time on your commute look at the black tire skid marks along U.S. 83 or actually on the concrete dividers or even scarier … on the flyover bridge walls!  Dios mio!  Each tells a story.  The Rio Grande Valley Metropolitan Planning Organization (RGVMPO) has mapped these accidents.  Anecdotally, it seams it the crazy C drivers (Camaros, Challengers, Chargers and Corvettes) that are tailgating or speeding.  Women have a rep for being bad drivers, but gentlemen, we are responsible for most vehicular and pedestrian and biking accidents in Texas.

So how can we be better motorists?  Of course, check your vehicle (eg, gas, tires, mirrors), weather and travel time before leaving home.  Cell. phone apps like Waze, Apple Maps or google maps help ride shotgun as you get down the road.  Once on the expressway, make use of this tech.  There is another tech device that is now standard on all vehicles.  It’s located on the left side of the steering wheel.  It’s called a turn signal.  Trouble is, it does not work if you don’t use it.  Use it.  Thousands of your fellow motorist thank you.  And, for the love of God, use the left lane for passing and return to the right lane for travelling.  Again, thank you.

Road construction on Interstate 2
Road construction on Interstate 2

We all learned these basic rules of the road when studying the Texas Driver Handbook for our driver’s license exam.  The exam wasn’t too difficult, but travelling on your commute does take some work.  Apropos, “travel” is derived from travail, meaning painful or tortuous effort;  trabajo.

Please feel free to share useful commuting tips, pet peeves, etc. with co-workers or with family at the next holiday gathering.  We could all use a break from the staid conversation on the weather.  This is a safe topic, right?

The Pharr exchange will be completed in 2024, but if your weekday schlep takes you through Mission, raise a quick wave at our local Texas Transportation Commissioner Alex Meade.  Pray he bring us the next $100 million road project.  Dale gas.

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