Highway 18 construction dangers

CRAIGHEAD COUNTY, AR (KAIT) - Arkansas State Police are investigating a one vehicle accident on Highway 18 that left one woman dead Wednesday.

The accident happened near a construction zone between Monette and Lake City.

The accident that killed 77-year-old Bonnie Sue McAfee of Monette is the second in several weeks that happened near the location where the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department is widening the two-lane highway to five lanes.

"That project is six miles long," said district engineer Walter McMillan. "There will be construction somewhere along that stretch for a pretty good while."

Cecil Ratliff of Lake City had a close call along the construction strip about three weeks ago.

"I was coming from Black Oak to Lake City and something I suppose had happened before I got there, and I couldn't find the lane to stay on the right hand side of the bridge."

Ratliff said he veered into oncoming traffic, but escaped wrecking his car.

The speed limit along the stretch of highway where the construction is taking place is 55 miles per hour.

McMillan said the maintenance division within the Highway and Transportation Department has not recommended lowering the speed limit.

"(The) main thing when you go through a construction zone, just not particularly this one, but any of them, always be alert because it's always changing and it may not be like it was the last time you went through it."

McMillan said the project probably will not be completed until 2013. He encourages drivers to take it slow, regardless of the posted speed limit.

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