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Texas 31 sees more fatalities; project aimed at preventing crashes years away, unfunded

This year, through Aug. 4, the road has seen six fatal wrecks that killed nine people.

LONGVIEW, Texas — Fatal wrecks on Texas 31 between Kilgore and Tyler have increased this year after several years of fewer deaths on the road long known as "Bloody 31."

In 2016, the stretch of road between FM 1639 and Loop 323 in Tyler saw seven fatal wrecks that killed eight people. Then the number of fatal wrecks decreased after the Texas Department of Transportation made safety improvements to the road, including widening Texas 31 to create more passing lanes. In 2018 and 2020 the stretch of road saw no fatal wrecks. One wreck killed one person in 2019, according to information the News-Journal previously reported.

"They made significant improvements to 31 over the years," said Ryan Riley, chief of the mostly volunteer rescue unit in Kilgore which helps respond to wrecks on Texas 31 along with the personnel of Emergency Services District 2. "There used to be a lot of fatalities on the road. The improvements they made, widening it, have really cut down on accidents significantly out there." 

Read more from CBS19's newspaper partner, the Longview News-Journal.