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LITTLE ELM (CBSDFW.COM) – A fatal crash on a busy highway comes just weeks after two other crashes that have many drivers dreading their commutes.

A TXDOT spokesperson tells us the construction worker killed on the 26000-block of Highway-380 this week was not associated with a TXDOT expansion project, but even smaller private widening efforts like the one to add a turning lane can catch drivers by surprise.

When that driver crashed into the construction worker right outside the Twin Lakes Pet and Bird Clinic on Highway-380, Carrie Nitz heard the impact. “Very sad, you know, it probably could have been prevented,” Nitz said.

The cause of the fatal collision remains under investigation, but it comes as commuters like Nitz say they’re seeing one problem after another. “It’s definitely a harder commute with the more drivers that we have on the road, you know and everybody in a hurry to get everywhere,” Nitz said.

Little Elm Police tell us on their 5 ½ mile stretch of Highway-380 alone, they’ve seen the number of vehicles per day rise more than 20% since 2013, and each year since then, the number of crashes has increased significantly.

“It’s just a very high growth area, just a lot of folks coming here, which is great.  There’s good things about that, but we’re having to deal with big city issues that we didn’t used to have to,” Denton commuter Scott Steiner said.

Further west in Denton, commuters like Steiner say they’re eager to see Highway-380’s massive widening project completed.  In September, one woman was killed and another driver was left in critical condition in crashes minutes apart that came just after TXDOT shifted traffic patterns to open long-closed lanes.  A TXDOT spokesperson says since then they’re changing the time of day they make traffic shifts, adding more signs warning drivers, and working with the city on adding stoplights.

TXDOT tells us it’s in the early stages of an even bigger expansion project that would cover the section of 380 from Highway-288 all the way to the Collin County line.  That construction would begin late 2020 at the earliest and last about three years.

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