Sunday, March 26, 2017

Officials concerned about Country Club Drive

Country Club Drive.
Of significant concern to Marion City Council is the rapid deterioration of Country Club Drive.

Councilwoman D’Anna Sallin in January brought forward her concerns, largely due to the role the pock-marked street plays in transporting students to school. Parents and buses must traverse the street to take children to Crittenden County Elementary School, which is home to nearly 700 students.

“I have had more complaints this week,” she said Monday. “I feel it urgently needs to be addressed.”

The road was initially built to handle a nominal flow of passenger vehicles between Chapel Hill Road to U.S. 60 West. Since its construction, however, the elementary school was built in the early 1980s, and later, Industrial Drive was installed, connecting U.S. 641 to U.S. 60 via Country Club Drive.

The connection created a bypass for tractor-trailers and other heavy trucks otherwise forced to negotiate a precarious 90-degree turn at the U.S. 641-U.S. 60 stoplight. Country Club Drive weathered the heavy traffic fairly well until the construction of a new U.S. 641 sent an untold number of loaded gravel trucks from the Rogers Group quarry on Crittenden Springs Road to the construction site south of town.

Country Club Drive, after two previous harsh winters, is now in a state of severe disrepair. Spot fixes have not lasted. Meantime, Industrial Drive has better sustained the heavy trucks that pass through each day, as it was built to handle typical traffic inside an industrial park.

The council has discussed the issue many times in the past, reaching no solution. Placing a weight limit on Country Club Drive has been considered, yet not seriously pursued. Now, however, resolution may perhaps be within reach following a recent council meeting.

City Administrator Adam Ledford said he has spoken with Kentucky Transportation Cabinet officials about the problem created by heavy traffic using the street to bypass the hairy intersection. He said Monday they appear open to the idea of taking over maintenance of the street. The state, perhaps, appears more eager to repair and keep up Country Club Drive than to rework a problem intersection of two federal highways.

Fire Chief Ronald “Red” Howton, who drives a heavy truck for his employer, said a weight limit will essentially be a paper tiger for most fellow operators.

“You won’t stop it unless you put gates on each end,” he warned.

For more on this matter and other city council business see the March 23 printed edition of The Crittenden Press.