Kennett Downtown Truck Woes - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Kennett Downtown Truck Woes

By Keith Boles - bio | email feedback

KENNETT, MISSOURI (KAIT) -- Danger was averted on Monday!

But Kennett city and emergency leaders say it's only a matter of time!

They're demanding something be done to keep their city safe.

There are lots of trucks that pass through and around Kennett every day.

The highway study for the four lane near the Walmart is proof.

"They found out that road had as many per hour of trucks as Interstate 55 does at Memphis."

Says Brian Mitchell a former city councilman whose business sits on the town square says yesterday's truck roll over was an oddity.

But safety is still a concern.

Mitchell, "It can be a safety problem especially here on the square when you do have 18 wheelers coming through , if they hit both green lights they don't have to slow down."

Kennett Mayor Roger Wheeler says the trucks downtown wear out the roads,

They're also noisy.

Wheeler says between tearing up the roads and the use of Jake Brakes and speeding,

"We have a continuous flow of complaints about truck traffic."

To deal with the complaints, Wheeler says they do radar checks for speed and noise violations but... "Our police department is spread thin to begin with and so you can't be everywhere for everybody all the time so it's a difficult task."

One solution that works for other towns are bypasses.

Kennett already has those in place both on the North and South side.

At Monday's accident, Fire Chief John Mallott told me they encourage drivers to use them.

"There's virtually no stop light traffic, it's stop light free and then you have a bypass on 412. And that's one thing we've been trying to work with the state to get established."

Mayor Wheeler says the highway department would like the city to take over the part of highway 85 that runs through downtown, then the city could route to the bypasses.

But Wheeler says there is a catch to that simple plan. "Now they're not in agreement, they say we would put too much traffic on the bypasses if we route the trucks all around it."

Brian Mitchell the owner of Mitchell Healthmart Pharmacy  on the square says he doesn't mind the trucks because basically it's good for business.

"It really hasn't been that big of a deal and we hear it and see it all day. We just love traffic. I guess anybody in business loves traffic."

But he did admit that the big trucks rarely, if ever stop to buy a bottle of aspirin.

So the trucks roll on through downtown for now.

Mayor Wheeler says he will take up the issue of rerouting again with the state following Monday's accident.

This time he says it will be in a more formal proposal.

We'll continue to track this story and let you know what happens.

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