Dangerous Roads: A Special Report

Ted Herget overlooks Main Street, Jonesboro primary "hot spot" for traffic accidents
Ted Herget overlooks Main Street, Jonesboro primary "hot spot" for traffic accidents

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Traffic congestion around Jonesboro is something we've all learned to live. As the area has continued to grow, so has the problem. There have been roughly 21-hundred accidents in the city of Jonesboro so far this year. But what might come as a shock is where a lot of them are happening.

"I mean it's like bumper car out there," said Ted Herget, who lives in a loft just above his business in downtown Jonesboro.

When you think about dangerous places to drive in Jonesboro you might think of Caraway Rd. and Stadium Blvd. Large intersections, with multiple turning lanes. But after some digging with the Jonesboro Police Department, we researched traffic accidents from the past two years, and we found a hot spot of accidents was all happening on a 25mph road. That's right, Main Street.

It's an area that over the past year have boomed with new businesses and with that more vehicles. It's a good growing pain to have, but bad if you're trying to drive through.

"I mean you hear them (accidents) and it's several times a week. And you'll look out the window and you'll see someone driving the opposite direction. I can't tell you how many times that's happened," said Herget.

For him, it's no surprise. "I mean the roads so tight and we're just trying to pack so many cars in here. I mean the speed limit is 25, but it might as well be 55."

And he wasn't kidding. While we were interviewing JPD Patrolman Doug Formon about the problem, we spotted one vehicle traveling down Main Street at 60mph. In case you were wondering, the driver of the vehicle was issued a speeding ticket. But, Formon says speeding isn't the only issue. Within the first five minutes of us talking, we saw a semi-truck trying to make a left hand turn onto Main St. backing up traffic. Officers even had to help maneuver the truck through.

"You know it's just an area that was built in the turn of the century late 1800s and now here was are in modern day times trying to get that much traffic down through here to lead up to a state highway. It's just tough," said Formon.

Then combined parallel parking on both sides of the road, along with dumpsters and deliveries. The road's not designed to hold the load. "It's just part of it. With too many cars and not enough asphalt, accidents are going to happen," said Formon.

As for Herget, he's not sure what the answer is, but hopes one comes along soon. "I don't know how to fix it. Slowing down the speed limit even more. Maybe adding four-way stops. I don't know," said Herget.

The question is, what can really be done about it? We talked with Mayor Harold Perrin, he says are looking into it, but they only have so many options. One included maybe looking into additional signage. The city does plan to do a comprehensive study come the beginning of the year.

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