11 Listens: White County intersection worries schools' superintendent

Credit: KTHV
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A stop sign at an intersection along Highway 385 has become the talk of the small town of Judsonia. Now, 11 listens to those in the community concerned that it may do more harm than good.

When the White County Sheriff's Office posted this public notice on Facebook of a new stop sign at the intersection of Highway 385 and newly extended Highway 13, it drew an overwhelming response of concern for safety. 

It's a route truck drivers, bus drivers and teachers travel daily.

White County Superintendent Dean Stanley sat down to explain what the fuss is about.

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"There's been a concern throughout our community because for years there's not been a stop sign there," Stanley said. "So people who crest that hill just naturally would go down and turn left, and go towards the 67/167 freeway."

He foresees danger at the bottom of the hill.

"It's a blind hill, so as they come up over the hill if people that are stopped may have a hard time getting stopped and then also we have a lot of truck traffic with Vulcan Materials."

The thoroughfare is now a part of the Searcy bypass, a plan and design that's been in the works for years.  
Though Stanley believes these warning signs will help, he says it's a drastic change that could cause even more accidents, especially in icy conditions. But district engineer, Bruce Street, ensures this will be a priority area."
"We'll come out and treat it aggressively and try to make sure it's as open as possible not as icy so people can stop on it," Stanley said.

The Arkansas Department of Transportation reduced the speed limit from 45 to 35 miles per hour and is keeping a close eye on the traffic with its iDrive Arkansas camera. Street said it's the best and safest design for the project. 

"There could be accidents we can't prevent accidents if people obey the laws that are posted there should be a problem with the traffic," Street said.

He also said he's received several emails regarding the stop sign and even requests to shave the hill, but says the hill just isn't steep enough to do so. And though Stanley's request to reconsider implementing the stop sign was unsuccessful, he hopes the department will at least consider this.

"I would like to see a light at the top of the hill or as you were going up the hill some type of flashing light to warn people," Stanley said.

We asked if the Highway Department would consider this and the answer is yes. Street said they'd need conduct a study, investigate and make a recommendation from there. Meanwhile, there is currently a temporary flashing speed trailer in place.