August 25, 2020
By: Dwayne Page
Motorists on Puckett’s Point Road will have to travel a bit slower.
During Monday night’s regular monthly meeting, the county commission voted 10 to 3 to post a continuous 20 mile per hour speed limit on the road. Up until now the first 2/10s of the two mile road has been posted 30 miles per hour with the remaining 1.8 mile stretch being 20 mph.
Ryan Corcoran and Harriet Adrian, both residents of Puckett’s Point Road, addressed the commission to ask that the 20 mph speed limit be set for the entire road.
“Its curvy and narrow. There is no exit anywhere. Its not like maybe Four Seasons Road where you have pastureland (on either side),” said Corcoran. “Puckett’s Point Road is shear bluffs and 60% grades. There is no where to go. If you meet a car you’re better to hit it than trying to swerve. Its not a question of enforcement for us. Its do people who come there who don’t live there know how fast they can go. Are they going to slow down. I guess the worst part about it is we live there but most of the problem traffic is people who don’t live there. Some have never been there. It’s a dangerous situation and I’m afraid if it doesn’t pass (20 mph speed limit) we might regret it one day. It (crashes) has happened in the past. Its happened in the last three months twice. One almost went off the bluff. If it hadn’t got hung up in a tree it would have been in the lake. We’re just asking to swap one sign for another and asking to put a reduce speed ahead sign maybe 100 feet off the highway. I don’t see what harm it can do,” Corcoran added.
“I have seen traffic on the road change immensely,” said Adrian. “ I come to you as a resident and a pedestrian. I walk on that road with my dog every single day. If we can’t maintain the car traffic at least the warning of 20 mph would help protect the pedestrians. Its no longer just a county road. It’s a residential road with a boat ramp that is used by the public with countess boats being pulled by big trucks. The road is only 8 to 10 feet wide. Its barely big enough for a car to pass much less a boat and a truck so its for everyone’s safety that the speed limit be addressed to hopefully slow down the traffic so people don’t get killed,” said Adrian.
Fifth district Commissioner Anita Puckett said while she understood the concerns, the county should take a more consistent approach in setting speed limits on county roads.
“I do understand their concerns but without anyone to enforce that it makes it very difficult. We need to have some type of set speed limit across the county on these small county backroads. I know we have some roads which are 30 mph and 35 mph but I feel we need to be consistent in the entire county when we are lowering these speed limits on these county roads. But to go from 30 to 20 miles per hour, if there is no one there to enforce that its not benefiting anyone. Its just a sign. We need to be consistent and have the same speed limit on our county roads,” said Commissioner Puckett.
Fourth District Commissioner Janice Fish Stewart made the point that as far as speed limits, one size may not fit all.
“While we can sit here and say we need one speed limit for every road, there is a reason that the state roads are 55 mph while some roads are 30 mph and others are 35 mph in the county. There is a reason these people need this road to be 20 mph. Its like saying everybody has to wear a size 5 shoe even if you have a size 13 foot. Even though we would like consistency on the roads this is a special circumstance and situation. There are people who are going to get killed. People have already been killed on this road. I don’t want us to be sitting here two weeks , two years, or twelve years from now feeling bad because we made a decision where somebody got killed,” said Commissioner Stewart.
Seventh District Commissioner Beth Pafford added that “Its not just about enforcement. A speed limit sign is there as a guide for drivers as well. People not already familiar with the road are not going to automatically know how fast or slow its safe to go. Its not about whether the sheriff can catch everyone who is speeding. It serves as a signal you need to slow down here. Its a gauge for the drivers,” said Commissioner Pafford.
Commissioners voting in favor of the 20 mph speed limit on Puckett’s Point Road were Matt Adcock, Janice Fish Stewart, Myron Rhody, Beth Pafford, Jenny Trapp, Dennis Slager, Jerry Adcock, Bobby Johnson, Jeff Barnes, and Julie Young. Commissioners Bruce Malone, Anita Puckett, and Sabrina Farler voted against it. Commissioner Scott Little was absent.
Commissioners Jerry Adcock, Sabrina Farler, and Bobby Johnson participated in the meeting via conference call.