Gentry committees talk speed limits, golf carts, engine brakes
GENTRY — A variety of topics from engine brakes to golf carts and speed limits were discussed at a meeting of Gentry’s Street and Finance Committees on Sept. 6.
Adding some additional street lights and upgrading a few others were discussed at the committee meeting held at city hall, with a recommendation to the council to approve the changes. New locations included the intersections of Crowder Avenue and Arkansas Highway 12 and SWEPCO Road, the intersections of SWEPCO Road at Bloomfield and Duckworth Streets. Upgrades were suggested for improved lighting at the intersections of Arkansas Highway 59 and East Main Street, Third Street and Collins Avenue, and Arkansas 59 and N. Parks Circle. The total monthly cost to the city was estimated at $83.67. The council approved the new and improved lighting on Monday.
Also discussed was the possibility of a city ordinance prohibiting the use of engine brakes within city limits. It was suggested that an ordinance prohibiting the braking devices be passed on three separate readings to make sure the public has the opportunity to comment on the proposed change before it becomes law.
A speed-limit change on Gentry Boulevard (Arkansas Highway 59) through the city was discussed with a recommendation to lower the speed limit to 45 mph on the north edge of Gentry and to 40 mph from just north of Main Street to the location of Adams Truss. Since it is a state highway, the council can request the change, but the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department would have to make the change. The council, on Monday, voted to request the change.
Also discussed was proposed streets on which golf carts could be operated in Gentry if the council authorizes their operation within the city. Any council action would not authorize the use of such vehicles on state highways or county roads. In materials presented to the committees by Kevin Johnston, Gentry’s mayor, a minimum age for operators at 16 or 18 was suggested,
along with a one-time permit fee which included a mandatory training session on the use of golf carts within the city. The possibility of revoking the permit for violators was also discussed.
Johnston said the current state law needed some clarification to allow golf carts to cross state highways or county roads. Current law does not allow the vehicles on state highways at all, presumably making it illegal to even cross a state highway in a golf cart.
Johnston told the committee members that the Federal Emergency Management Agency was recommending repair rather than replacement of the bridge across Flint Creek on Dawn Hill Road. He said the bridge is still good, but new supports need to be built to raise it up and make it secure. Though an estimate for replacement (not including dirt work) was $700,000, Johnston said he hadn’t yet received a FEMA estimate for repair.
FEMA will reimburse the city 75 percent of costs for repair and will include another 50 percent of that amount for work done to prevent a recurrence of damage from flooding, Johnston said. He said, after advertising and receiving qualifications, the city will be choosing a list of professionals for the work at its October meeting. After a professional is contracted, a repair plan can be prepared and the work put out to bid.
Though the bridge will remain closed for several more months, Johnston is hoping the end result will be a repair which will not need to be repeated each time the creek floods.