Jackson Co. EMS raise concerns about the new US 67 stretch

By Keith Boles - bio | email feedback

NEWPORT, AR(KAIT) -It will only be a short while until the new limited-access section of US 67 between Newport and Cash is open for travel.

But an issue that surfacing is the lack of places for emergency vehicles to turn around.

It was the first time that Diaz Fire Chief Reginal Williams had been on the new highway section.

As we drove along he looked for places that emergency crews could turn ambulances and fire trucks.

Williams says there are some issues that need to be addressed.

One of his first concerns that still needed to be discussed was coverage.

"Getting together with some of the other departments and deciding who is gonna cover what and if they need any help we would be able to respond and help them."

Diaz's coverage area is actually pretty large.

"Just North of the creek bridge is our city limits but our goes on further, you know further down."

Tuckerman will have the lions share for coverage of the new section . Chief Koller told me with his fire and rescue units and 2 ambulances they are prepared.

But there are access issues for all departments concerned.

There are two exits between Newport and Cash. One is on highway 37, the other one is on County Road 43.

Chief Williams told me that at a recent meeting with police and fire and ems personnel they discussed the distances between exits.

Williams, "Such a long stretch with no place to get off. They were talking about having places where they can cross and turn around if they had to go down and come back."

Besides the two exits there is only 1 official paved cross over - just about  at Cash where the road will stop for the time being. "That's why it's crucial especially for EMS to know where they can cross and how far they have to go to cross."

If it's really dry there are a few spots where a vehicle may be able to cross over at an angle.

But there are many miles where a crossing will be nearly impossible. The Highway Department says they are planning to add more crossovers

©2009 KAIT
ll rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.