Deaths at Intersection Worry Some

NEWARK (KAIT) Highway 69 running from Newport to Batesville bypasses Newark. However the intersection of Highway 122 from Oil Trough is gaining a deadly reputation.

Newark's mayor says some changes need to be made.

Mayor Randy Hendrix says building the by-pass around Newark may be one of the leading causes for all the accidents.

"The stop signs used to be here and now the stop signs are on the North and South bound where it used to be just West bound."

If you need to be convinced that this intersection has problems just take a walk around the periphery. You can't hardly take a step without coming across debris from an accident.

Five or six in the last 2 months including 4 fatalities, the last occurring just last week.

Hendrix says he doesn't know why the accidents have increased recently.

The intersection is busy with cars and big rigs. Randy Potts a truck driver from Piggott has been coming through the intersection for a 4 years.

Potts, "I've been lucky, I've never seen a wreck or anything like that. I've heard there has been several" I think it's a pretty safe intersection. It's wide enough you can see all way round everywhere. There's no trees blocking anything like that. I feel it's pretty safe."

After Mayor Hendrix made a call to Governor Beebe, the highway department came out and installed more signs with flags to attract drivers attention. But Hendrix says more needs to be done.

One concern the mayor has is the distance of the rumble strips to the intersection. Nearly a quarter mile away.

Hendrix, "Our ultimate goal is to get the state to pay for some hazardous lights on the stop ahead signs and also to get the rumble strips moved closer to the stop signs. "

The rumble strips are also a concern to people who use the intersection frequently.

Jamie Bailey, "To me their really not close enough to the stop sign so once you go over them it's like you forget about it."

Whether it's design or simply not enough safety measures make no mistake about it this intersection has some serious problems. Hendrix says he won't quit fighting for the needed fixes with the goal in mind.

"What ever we go through nothing is too much trouble to save somebodies life."

Of course what it boils down to is money. The city wants the lights, can't afford to pay for them plus the intersection is actually not in the city. The state says the warning lights on the stop signs cost 4 Thousand, who is going to pay?

I think the ones who pay are the victims

A red and yellow flashing light over the intersection has been ruled out by the state because they are said to cause more distraction than help.