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Deadly crash on private road part of a bigger problem in Far East El Paso

A private road where three people were killed during the weekend is shedding light on a bigger issue Far East El Paso is facing–growing pains.

Th crash happened Saturday night on Jobe Road, between Ascension Atreet and Montwood Drive. ABC-7 learned Jobe Road is a private road, which means it’s not managed by the city or the county.

Private roads aren’t held to the same standards as city or county roads because they’re not built to accommodate regular traffic and that can prove to be dangerous, as it in the weekend crash.

The county isn’t allowed to add signs alerting drivers of a private road or establishing a speed limit and by law, private property owners aren’t allowed to close off a road to the public.

Residents who live near Jobe Road, oftentimes drive through private roads to get to where they need to go.

On Monday, ABC-7 spoke with County Commissioner Vince Perez, who represents that precinct. He said the road was built by the original owners of Jobe Construction. Parts of the business have been sold since then and Perez said the road now belongs to Cemex Construction. ABC-7 also reached out to Cemex Construction about the road, but the company did not respond.

Perez said Far East El Paso is a fast-growing area and before there was housing and a lot of development, there was a lot of land that belonged to private owners. The original owners, Jobe Construction, built roadways meant to be used by its trucks.

When private property owner owns a piece of land, the owner has the right to build the road as they see fit. So it’s not up to the same standards necessarily as when the city or county builds roads, because it’s not built to accommodate regular traffic.

“When that private road was built, it was built to accommodate trucks that move slower, that usually just go during business hours, but once the public has access to it, if it grants access, the road can’t be shut off to public, so it creates this gray area where it is a private road on private property where the county is prohibited from putting signage, speed limits, but then again, the public still utilizes the road,” Perez said.

Perez also said one of the biggest problems El Paso will be facing in the next decade, will be providing the roads that connect residents where they need to go. He said there are no plans right now to acquire Jobe Road, but he does tell ABC-7 the county will be making the largest investment it’s ever made in transportation in the region in the next three to five years.

“We hope that with the arterial roads we’re building will provide a much more efficient route for residents to use as apposed to relying on these private roads, but again, as a private property owner, these roads just weren’t made to accommodate traffic,” Perez said.

The county is investing $400 million dollars in these projects. Some of them will be started this year, including the extension of Greg Drive, which will provide a connection from the Montana Vista community to Zaragosa Road.

The two other men involved in the deadly rollover are still hospitalized. The crash is still under investigation.

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