Independence County Judge Robert Griffin is proposing a solution to the shutdowns of Highway 167 on Ramsey Mountain during the aftermath of truck rollovers.
The judge says 25,000 vehicles per day travel Highway 167, and sometimes a rollover occurs during rush hours.
He says emergency services, such as ambulances, coming from the south into Batesville are blocked from the regional hospital during such rollover incidents. He also says school traffic can be hindered during these accidents, to where the traffic is delayed excessively.
Griffin is calling for the collaboration of Independence County and ArDOT — the Arkansas Department of Transportation. He says his solution is to have a concrete wall built on the inside part of the curve, beginning at a point below where the rollovers occur. He said just inside of the highway department’s paved shoulder, build the wall and continue it up the hill about one-quarter of a mile. He also said the wall needs to be tall.
Then, on the inside of the concrete structure, the judge proposes the owners of the property that is currently not part of the state’s right-of-way, give extra right-of-way.
According to Griffin, this is needed in order to build an access road inside the existing curve, consisting of two 12-foot lanes and 4-foot shoulders on each side of the driving surfaces. Independence County and the cities of Southside and Batesville own the property, so obtaining the extra right of away should not be a problem, Griffin says.
The judge also proposed the Independence County Road Department construct the gravel base and compact it so asphalt can be laid over the emergency road. He also said he is asking ArDOT to provide the asphalt.
Judge Griffin noted this solution would provide immediate access for travelers on Highway 167 while emergency vehicles work a rollover or wreck, and at the same time, provide a barrier for protection of those working in emergency services.
The suggested solution was sent to the district engineer for ArDOT in the Batesville District, Bruce Street. Judge Griffin also emailed Street a list of thirty documented rollovers on Ramsey Mountain since 2014 along with the lengths of time the highway was out of service for each particular accident. The list is based on files from the county dispatch office.
Over the weekend, a tractor-trailer full of 50-pound bags of flour rolled over at the curve on Ramsey Mountain. The incident took just over three hours to clear. (Click here for that story from White River Now.)
Image via Southside Fire Department’s Facebook page
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