LOCKHART, Texas (KXAN) - High speeds and wild hogs on the newly opened stretch of State Highway 130 in Central Texas made for a dangerous combination the very first night the road was open.
Four crashes between vehicles and hogs were reported to authorities. Three were in the Lockhart city limits and a fourth was in Caldwell County.
A vehicle was totaled in one of the crashes. No serious injuries were reported, but authorities worry this problem will continue to get worse as traffic increases on the new highway connecting Georgetown, north of Austin, and Seguin. The speed limit on the toll road is 85 mph.
"85-- they're on (the hogs) even before they know they're on them," said Lockhart Police Chief Michael Lummus. "Anyone that's ever struck a deer, they know that they're in the ditches and you don't see them until they're in front of you and it's the same with these (animals). But they're even lower (to the ground and hard to see)."
Two nights before SH 130 officially opened on Wednesday, Lockhart police officers used their dashboard cameras to capture video of packs of feral hogs crossing the road.
"I don't know that there's an easy fix because even if you drop the speed limit to 60 or 65 it's still a problem," said Lummus.
SH 130 travels through what has always been mostly farm- and-ranch land where feral hogs travel in packs. They are such a problem in Caldwell County, there is now a bounty for them. Two dollars is offered for each tail turned into officials.
Lummus is concerned the problem is only going to get worse, especially as it becomes darker earlier and there is more traffic on the road.
"It's a hazard that you almost have trouble trying to understand what's the best thing I can do here except be aware and alert, and maybe slow down even though the law says you can drive 85," said Lummus.
He advises drivers who come upon the animals unexpectedly to grip the wheel and keep going.
"A lot of the problem comes when people try to avoid something," said Lummus. "You're probably better off if you hold your course and go through it where you have a good grip on the wheel and just go through it."
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