City steps up traffic safety issue

GOSNELL, AR (KAIT) - After a teen died in 2011 while trying to cross a highway in Gosnell, the city council decided to step up their traffic safety.

According to Darryl Grissom, Gosnell's Code Enforcement Officer, the city was having a lot of issues with finding a contractor that wanted to take on the project.

"We put out for bids at least twice, if not three times, to get contractors to come out and do it," he said. "And everybody that bid was either over the amount that we were awarded, or they just refused to bid altogether. That's been out biggest downfall."

Grissom said the project included putting in sidewalks and adding strips for crosswalks with the new traffic lights on Highway 151.

However, Grissom said they've worked it out with the state on be their own contractor.

He said the city was funded $32,000 under the Safe Routes to School Grant to complete this project.

"We're going to put up lights," he said. "They're going to be flashing beacon lights with a radar unit installed in them. Our school zone speed is 25. This will allow all our residents and non-residents that come through to know that they have the flashing lights. The radar will tell them if they're over their speed, or where they need to be."

However, Julia Craddler, a local resident, said she crosses the highway daily to go to the neighborhood store.

Craddler said the new traffic lights on the highway are good, but it's still not safe for walkers at night.

"It's not safe to go across that road," she said. "It's not, they need to put more light on the highway; at night, it's dark. You can't walk around here it's dark. It's not safe."

Grissom said if everything works out, the city plans to have their new traffic lights up and running by the end of April.

"Hopefully this will make people aware that hey, you're in a school zone," he said. "We have kids roaming the streets. You are on a busy highway. Please slow down and take notice."

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