School traffic backs up highway, city in search of solution

(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)

HARRISBURG, AR (KAIT) - Back to school traffic is always a bit stressful for Region 8 school districts, but Harrisburg city officials have discovered a much bigger risk with traffic around their high school.

"This is normal for the first part of the school years where parents want to take their kids to school," said Mayor Randy Mills. "Three days up to two weeks, it will be congested but it was quite awful on Monday."

Mills said the problem points to the location of the school.

"The school is located right next to Highway 1 so when traffic gets backed up, it backs that highway traffic up for a long period of time," said Mills.

Mills also added the parking lot size is a factor as well.

"There are not enough adequate places to park so when parents get there early to wait for their kids, that starts a back up too," said Mills.

Having this issue can affect the travel of non-school traffic, according to Mills.

"It is bad enough to have businesses trying to drive truck loads from point A to point B on that highway, but a major concern is with emergency personnel," said Mills. "If an emergency vehicle has to get up and down the highway, then we would have a big problem. It could be police, fire, or ambulance service. If the highways are blocked then that is a major problem."

Now, Mills said they are working on a better way to alleviate these concerns.

"We are definitely at the very beginning of this planning," said Mills. "I talked to the alderman and police chief trying to come up with a plan to keep people off the highway when they are stopping to drop their kids off."

Mills said he has some ideas, but nothing is set in stone.

"We are maybe looking at a way to get parents to come in through the back of the school and come through the front," said Mills. "Another idea is if we can figure out how to get that blockage away from the highway and more in the inner roads of the community, that could help also."

Mills said whatever they decide, they will soon bring it before the Harrisburg superintendent and school board to let them weigh in on their options.

Copyright 2017 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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