Pangburn speed limit sign center of fight between city and state

PANGBURN (KATV) - Mayor Todd Slayton said people are going too fast around the Pangburn School District.{} He said it isn't safe and wanted to change the speed limit on one of the state highways bordering the school.{} The state said no, he did it anyway, and now it appears to be a back and forth between Mayor Slayton and the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department. The sign outside the Pangburn School District even tells people to "drive safe" and "watch for kids" - but the cars driving down Hwy. 124 had Slayton concerned folks aren't driving safely.{} Arkansas Highway 124 goes from a 55 MPH, to a 45 MPH to a 35 MPH zone before hitting the fringe of Pangburn's new high school.{} Mayor Slayton had requested that AHTD replace the 35 MPH sign with a 25 MPH in a school zone sign.{} AHTD denied the request and even followed it up with a speed study. "The study on Highway 124 was 41.4 miles per hour," said Mayor Slayton.{} "They [AHTD] felt those were acceptable limits." When KATV tested the road themselves, they found most were actually going right around the speed limit of 35, but Slayton says even 35 is too fast when driving around children.{} So he changed the sign, despite what AHTD said, and put up that 25 in a school zone sign. Weeks later the highway department took the sign down.{} They say by putting the school zone sign up, it could have actually made things worse. "By state statute that is only enforceable when children are present," said Danny Straessle, spokesperson for AHTD.{} "So 95 percent of the time, children are not present and you have people whizzing through there at 45 miles per hour." Straessle said by taking out the "35" sign, in essence the speed was raised because there are 45 MPH signs on either side of the 35 MPH sign - hence since the 25 is only enforceable when children are present, the effective speed limit is 45. But Slayton claims the sign worked while it was there. "We had less infractions, the parents were happy, we didn't have one single complaint," said Slayton. It makes Mayor Slayton wonder why the highway department cares so much about a sign in his town of barely 600 people. Straessle said there also is not enough pedestrian traffic to warrant one of those 25 mile per hour signs.{} They add they will continue to monitor the Pangburn situation, but for the time being their 35 sign will stay.