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Salt River Plant Road again at point of talks by city council

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By The Staff

SHEPHERDSVILLE -- A narrow road connecting Beech Grove Road and Highway 61 South may have received more discussion than any other street in Bullitt County over the past several years.

And, when residents learned that the road would soon be reopened to thru-traffic, they quickly came to talk with members of the Shepherdsville City Council.

Due to dangerous conditions and heavy traffic, the road was closed over two years ago. At the prior meeting in June, councilmembers voted 4-2 to reopen the road.

The road, which had been closed off the thru-traffic, would allow access to Highway 61 in case Beech Grove Road was blocked at the intersection.

It would give another access point for motorists on eastbound Beech Grove Road onto Preston Highway.

Learning after the fact that the road would reopen, several residents expressed their displeasure.

(The road was open to residents from the Preston Highway end but it was shut off at Beech Grove Road.)

Jerry Parker was one of the original residents to request the closure. When councilmember Tony Miller was on the street to help install a speed limit sign and a children at play sign, he almost got hit twice by cars flying down the street.

Parker said the police have been down to slow down speeders.

When former mayor Joe Sohm came down to visit the area, Parker said it was clear that two-way traffic was not possible without running into the front yards of the property owners.

Also, there were cars that made the narrow road a racetrack.

Some property owners had no space in their back yards for children to play. So the children played in the front yards, which are right along the road.

Parker said garbage and junk was constantly being dumped along the area.

And when large trucks turned onto the road, it crushed the culvert along Beech Grove Road, causing drainage problems along Salt River Plant Road.

He said the residents asking to close the road signed a petition and the council unanimously approved the request.

During the fall 2008 elections, Parker said residents heard rumblings that some of the candidates were campaigning on reopening the road.

“By reopening the road, you’re reopening the same problems,” said Parker.

He resented the statements about parents not allowing their children to play in the street. He said he didn’t allow his children to play in the street but that was not the reason the street was shut off to through traffic.

Ed Faracloth said that reopening Salt River Plant Road would do little to help traffic congestion on Beech Grove Road at Preston Highway.

The council made Salt River Plant Road one-way so that residents could have to enter the subdivision off Beech Grove Road and exit onto Preston Highway.

He said it wasn’t right that his property was continually being messed up due to cars using it to pass another vehicle.

Tire ruts were a permanent mark in his yard and that wasn’t right.

Mike Richard said kids should be able to play in any part of their yard without the fear of being hit by a car. He said cars fly down the road at 100 miles an hour and throw out a lot of garbage.

Although it is marked one-way, Richard said there is no doubt two-way traffic could return.

He called opening up the road as putting a bandage on a big cut.

Councilmembers did not take any action to change the decision made to reopen the street.

Councilman Larry Hatfield said he got a lot of calls asking him to reopen the road. When work to widen and connect Old Ford Road to Preston Highway is complete, Hatfield said the situation could be revisited.

Councilmember Bonnie Enlow recommended residents putting big rocks along the side of their property to protect it against unwanted vehicles. She agreed with works foreman Chuck Keith that the road was not wide enough for two vehicles to pass.

Mayor Sherman Tinnell agreed that once Old Ford Road is done next spring, the situation could be addressed again.

Councilman Scott Ellis said he lives on Beech Grove Road but he fears that reopening Salt River Plant Road could result in a fatality.

“That’s one death too many,” said Ellis.

He would rather sit in line on Beech Grove Road another 5-10 minutes than reopen the road.

Councilman Alan Wetzel, who also voted against reopening the road, said it would be silly to spend the money to reopen the road if it is going to be closed again next year.

He agreed that the narrow road would be used for two-way traffic.

Wetzel also didn’t feel it was the city’s place to tell people how to care for their families.