CONWAY, Ark. – In Conway, a busy intersection is infamous for backing up traffic for blocks. But a recent push by Conway police hopes to hit the gas on a solution.
Noah Johnson and Allison Epps know the crossing of Oak Street and Elsinger Blvd well. The two students pass through the Conway Commons shopping center on a near-daily basis, and the opening intersection is something they dread hitting due to the constant traffic that never seems to end.
“Heck, we were stuck there probably 10 minutes, almost? Like almost 10 minutes,” Johnson remembered.
According to Conway police PIO Lacey Kanipe, the problem is twofold: the intersection’s a busy location and the fact that drivers just can’t help but block the box.
“It’s right by the Conway Commons shopping center,” said Kanipe. “It’s a very popular area. It just creates a sort of gridlock or standstill for several blocks.”
The city and police department had previously posted signage reading “don’t block intersection”, but Kanipe says they “didn’t help in the way we’d hoped.” Enforcement, she says, was the next step.
Starting Monday, April 18, officers will be posted up at the intersection keeping a close eye on drivers. Those who pull into the intersection but don’t make the light will be pulled over and issued a citation. In just 15 minutes during the lunch rush, CPD officials issued three.
Drivers in the area like Johnson and Epps say it’s a start.
“Any precautions they can put in place, just anything at all will help,” said Epps.
In addition, the City of Conway has plans to work on Oak Street as a whole, with traffic concerns a major focus. It will include an adaptive traffic light project to sync traffic signals and make it smoother for drivers in the area. A representative of the city says a similar project completed on Dave Ward was a success.
Construction could begin on Oak Street by this fall.