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School zone safety

Parents from Robinson Elementary, Middle, and High School have been complaining for months that something needs to be done about the traffic congestion and speeding through the school zone on Highway 10.
Parents from Robinson Elementary, Middle, and High School have been complaining for months that something needs to be done about the traffic congestion and speeding through the school zone on Highway 10.

Pulaski County and the Arkansas Highway Department are working to fix the safety issues in the school zone. The speed limit drops from 55mph to 25mph and law enforcement cite drivers for speeding, but Rachel Redmond, a parent who drives her kids to school everyday says the school zone is scary. "You pray when you pull out of the parking lot no one hits you because drivers do not follow the signage. When you pull out onto Highway 10, you're pretty much taking a gamble whether or not someone's going to hit you. I've seen several people almost get hit."

Diane Howard also drives her kids to school and says something needs to be done to make the school zone safer. "It's horrible. We need flashing lights to tell people to slow down."

Pulaski County Public Works Director Sherman Smith says plans are in place to put in additional signage and flashing lights. "That should alert the people driving through the corridor it's a school zone. Drop down to 25mph or expect a ticket."

Arkansas State Troopers patrolling the area have helped to slow down drivers, but Derrick Gilbert says that only lasts for so long. "It's like the Indianapolis 500 out here. If people don't see the troopers out here, they just speed up and down the road."

Parents say more signage and flashing warning lights would make the school zone less confusing. The county plans to make those additions within a few weeks, and is also working with the Pulaski County Special School District to build a new driveway to Robinson Elementary School to divert traffic off Highway 10.

Derrick Gilbert says that sounds good, but he isn't convinced. "They've been saying that for a long time and they haven't done it yet." He hopes something is done soon before someone gets hurt.

Smith says the new signs and flashing lights will be up the first or second week of February. The project has been in the works since August, but since the Highway 10 corridor in front of the Robinson schools is the Highway Department's jurisdiction, a study had to be done before Pulaski County could be granted permission to make any changes along the road. Pulaski County is paying for the improvements estimated to cost about $15,000.
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