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Russellville upgrades median to turn lane

After a fatal car crash last year at the intersection of U.S. Highway 43 and Gandy Street, the Russellville Police Department has been hard at work to find a way to make the intersection safer for motorists.

“We have probably had the most wrecks at that intersection – more than any other intersection,” said Russellville Police Chief Chris Hargett.

After talking with the state highway patrol, engineers assessed the intersection and determined the best solution was to eliminate the median and turn the area into turn lanes. 

“When two or three people got in that intersection, you couldn’t see, and of course (there was a problem with) people not being patient,” Hargett said. “So by turning those into turn lanes, you eliminate one of the equations, so now all you have to worry about is two turn lanes.”

Vehicles will no longer be able to cross U.S. Highway 43 from Gandy Street or the ABC North parking lot. 

Several people commented on the police department’s Facebook post about the change with safety concerns about the turn lanes promoting people using medians incorrectly.

Hargett said it is important for people to understand this intersection is no longer a median, so the rules for a median do not apply like they do for a turn lane.

Hargett said a few people used the turn lane incorrectly on the first day it was up, but other than that he has not seen anything of concern.

 This is not a permanent structure, so Hargett said he and his team are going to monitor the intersection to see if traffic improves.

“I think just from the time it’s already been up, it’s already making that traffic area a lot better,” Hargett said.