Michelle Keahey, East Texas Bureau Oct. 18, 2012, 3:26pm

MARSHALL - Following a serious rear-end collision during an attempt to merge onto the interstate in Texarkana, a road construction company is being sued for not providing a merger lane during the ongoing construction project. 

Karen and Kevin Forte filed suit against Austin Bridge & Road LP on Oct. 11 in the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division.

The accident occurred on Feb. 23, 2011, as Karen Forte was attempting to merge into traffic on Interstate 30 in Texarkana. According to the lawsuit, she was attempting to as she approached the traffic on Interstate 30, she noticed there was no area available to merge into traffic and to avoid a serious collision with freeway traffic, she slammed on her brakes. The vehicle immediately behind her, struck the rear of the Forte vehicle.

At the time of the accident, the defendant was the general contractor for the construction on the I-30 project in Texarkana, which included the construction on the surrounding ramps, roads and bridges.

The defendant is accused of negligence for:

• Failing to follow the traffic control plan so as to provide an acceleration or merge lane to allow traffic accessing the interstate to safely merge into the freeway traffic,

• Failing to warn motorist approaching the on-ramp that there was no merge or acceleration lane, and

• Failing to warn motorist approaching the interstate on the on-ramp that they should be prepare to stop their vehicle at the interstate before merging with freeway traffic traveling at a high rate of speed.

The plaintiffs are asking for an award of damages for physical pain and mental anguish, lost earning capacity, physical impairment, medical expenses, loss of consortium, interest and court costs.

Forte is represented by J. Michael Smith of Smith Weber L.L.P. in Texarkana and C. David Glass and Mark C. Burgess of Boyd Poff Burgess in Texarkana. A jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge Rodney Gilstrap is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:12-cv-00644

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