An ‘unexpectedly heavy load of traffic’ Saturday afternoon near Chappell Hill was cleared up with the help of Washington County Sheriff’s Deputies, the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas Department of Transportation.

Sheriff Otto Hanak said the Chappell Hill Bluebonnet Festival, the high level of spring time traffic and a traffic signal that needed to be adjusted for the high volume of traffic all contributed to a traffic back up that some say went halfway towards Hempstead on Highway 290. 

The Sheriff called in a DPS helicopter to take aerial photos and find the source of the backup.  Then he called TxDot to adjust the lights.  The traffic was running much more smoothly by five Saturday afternoon. Hanak said the TxDot crews ‘performed wonderfully.’

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  1. I love reading all of the comments on this story…….boy I tell you!!! The next thing somebody will wnat to say is “we need a overpass in Chappell Hill”, that way we don’t have a traffic jam. STUPID!!!!!!!! We wouldn’t need a “helicopter, DPS, or Deputies”, had TXDOT adjusted the lights way earlier in the morning. “The traffic was running much more smoothly by five Saturday afternoon. Hanak said the TxDot crews ‘performed wonderfully,” by five o’clock how many people had been delayed or heading back home? I would think by five o’clock it should have been running smoove as well. How was it running before all of the calls started to come in and the time it took to get those resources out there? Then with the stupid light at WestWood, I think that’s a whole other story. Seem like to me, TXDOT should have installed an onramp overpass toward Austin at the cloverleaf area, instead of the light. What do you think?????

    1. One thing I failed to mention yesterday is this: How long before people stuck in traffic trying to get to or from festivals around Brenham decide it’s not worth the hassle to visit Brenham?

  2. So the traffic was a surprise to who? The bluebonnet festival is after all ” the official festival of Texas” what did anyone think would happen. I just don’t believe the sheriff department was so busy they couldn’t have been there all day to direct traffic.
    The light at Westwood is just stupid, I can’t believe the city let a business bully them into that. We just spent millions to fix 290, just to have them put up a light and stopped the flow!

    1. I agree with Pat, the light at Westwood is just stupid and so are the lights at 577 by the Elementary and the new light going up at 36. We spent millions to fix 290 so the people can drive 75 and then come to a complete halt when they get to Brenham. I also agree that the city was bullied by the business owner on 290 West. It is a mess there and continues to be. I hate driving that way, especially on a holiday weekend. I am so tired of the state being reactive instead of proactive-is this the first festival we have had since these lights went up? I think not!! Let’s do something before there is a problem and all the resources have to be used!!

  3. People ought to appreciate our law
    Enforcement for taking care of the
    Hi ways! If they needed to use aerial
    View that is good.. Never know what
    Problem could of been. Possibly
    Serious. So be greatful for them being out there. They putting their lives on line
    To take care of us!

  4. Seriously a DPS helicopter to figure out where the source of the back up was? Sounds like a big expense of a helicopter hate to see what that cost the Taxpayers of Texas? Does this sheriff not care about saving tax dollars? Sounds like someone in Austin needs to hear about this. What a waste of resources and taxpayer money!!!

    1. This is not the first time TXDOT was not ready for the increased traffic of an area festival. The new traffic light on Highway 290 in the Westwood area just west of Brenham caused major traffic pileups during Round Top Antique Weekend last year. Apparently everyone knows there will be increased traffic on 290 during the Bluebonnet Festival….except for TXDOT.

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