Supervisors discuss options for school traffic signs

Published 8:26 am Wednesday, February 14, 2024

BROOKHAVEN — Lincoln County Engineer Ryan Holmes gave a report on school traffic control signs in Lincoln County Tuesday during a regularly scheduled Board of Supervisors docket meeting. Holmes informed the board last week that the Lincoln County School District requested for them to take over maintenance of the signs.

He told the board he got with the Mississippi Department of Transportation about the signs. Lights at Loyd Star, Bogue Chitto and Enterprise were installed in 1991 but have likely seen updates since then. Lincoln County Sheriff Steve Rushing said the lights at West Lincoln were put in by a program in the sheriff’s office in 1992. 

Holmes said MDOT would install the post and sign but the County or School District was responsible for the lights. 

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Holmes recommended the board meet with Lincoln County School District Superintendent David Martin to answer questions they had. One question District 3 Supervisor John David Hart asked was why all of the signs weren’t being maintained consistently. 

District 5 Supervisor Doug Falvey said he spoke with board attorney Greg Malta about the County’s liability. Falvey has some reservations about rushing into taking on the responsibility but balanced his opinion with the desire for safety. 

“It is a safety issue and needs to be handled from our kids’ standpoint. How can we do a better job than the school can though,” Falvey said.

Malta explained the legal ramifications if the County took on maintaining the signs. 

“Anything that you undertake under a discretionary basis you have to do it competently without negligence,” Malta said. “If you don’t, the county can be sued. We aren’t a private business so we have more protection than the average Joe. You have more requirements and a higher standard of evidence. Any time you do anything which could lead to an accident you could be liable.” 

Holmes said safety is the county’s number one objective with the signs. He explained the lights are a little complicated and they will need someone experienced working on them. 

He clarified the four way stop at Brookway Boulevard Extension and Zetus Road was not installed for the school but was instead a state aid project. District 4 initially maintained the lights but the districts shifted responsibility to District 5 with rezoning. 

District 4 Supervisor Eli Ferguson suggested that the least the county could do was take over West Lincoln’s lights from the school district if the others are being well maintained. 

“I’ll reach back out to MDOT and set up a time to visit these sites. Let’s look at them, assess them and try to get with David Martin or a principal and see what they want,” Holmes said. “That way we will all be on the same page and try to figure out what is best for the community.”