Controversial stop signs will be removed

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, May 5, 2004

MONTICELLO — The Board of Aldermen here voted Tuesday to removetwo stop signs on Tommy Jolly Drive when confronted with the lossof state funding for the road.

Aldermen voted Tuesday to remove the signs on a split vote afterMarty Hilton, a state aid district engineer, threatened to withholdfunds from his agency should the signs remain in place.

“I control the state aid money on that road, and I would bebasically in complicity by allowing any more money to be spent onthat road,” Hilton said. “In my opinion, they’re unwarranted.”

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State aid overlaid the road about six years ago and wereplanning to reseal the road this summer at a cost of $20,000 permile. Those plans would be stopped if the signs remained in place,he said.

Tommy Jolly Drive is a major thoroughfare. The three-milesection of the road in question connects F.E. Sellers Highway withthe Highway 27 Bypass.

Lawrence County District One Supervisor Steve Garrett attendedthe meeting and said his concern was in losing the approximately$60,000 in funding to reseal the road, which falls within hisdistrict.

“There’s no doubt. It will,” Hilton said.

The stop signs were put in place a month ago at theintersections with Smith Lane and Fortenberry Street.

The signs have prompted many complaints from residents, and theboard discussed their removal at a meeting two weeks ago, butdecided to leave them in place on a 3-2 vote.

Scarcely a block separates the two signs on Tommy Jolly Drive.Smith Lane travels next to Lawrence County High School and providesentry to the high school’s Multipurpose Building and ball fields aswell as to a residential area. Fortenberry Street serves residencesonly.

“Who would have ever thought two stop signs could cause so muchtrouble,” said District One Alderman Jerry Goode.

Hilton admonished the board for not following the Manual onUniform Traffic Control Devices and told them the signs were inviolation of the rules set forth in the manual for multi-waystops.

“Stop signs should not be used for speed control but in a waythat affects the least number of cars,” he said.

Hilton said with the signs placed as they are, in violation ofthe manual, they pose a liability to the city that should not beignored.

“Let me just say that should someone have an accident there, thelawyers know that, too,” he said.

Hilton recommended the city remove the signs until a study couldbe completed that could determine the proper way to addressaldermen’s concerns of speeding on Tommy Jolly Drive.

District Three Alderman George Magee did not vote on the signremoval because he was overseeing the meeting in Mayor DavidNichols absence. A motion to remove the signs passed 3-1, withDistrict Two Alderman Steve Moreman opposed.

Moreman, who lives on Fortenberry Street, originally proposedthe signs.

In other matters, alderman heard a request from City AttorneyJoe Dale Walker that the city pay for his insurance coverage. Hewould continue to pay for his dependents.

City Clerk Ruth Spicer spoke on behalf of Walker, who was notpresent at the meeting. Spicer said Walker’s insurance cost him anestimated $4,550 annually, but added that Walker had not received araise in nearly 16 years.

The board tabled the request until they could speak withWalker.