Lack of school zone signs a misunderstanding

Drivers speeding past the new South Marshall Middle School have parents and educators worried. The speed limit on U.S. 641 in front of the middle school increased this summer to 65 mph. However, the school zone signs aren’t yet in place.

Benton, Kentucky, police officer Caleb Curtner says parents love that he’s out front helping their students get to their new school, but what he can’t help are the speeders nearby. “There are some that just won’t slow down," he says.

Even though the signs caution you to slow down, the speed limit is still 65. After the school zone signs go up, drivers will need to drive 45 or face a ticket.

Marshall County Schools Superintendent Trent Lovett says the school system has never purchased school zone signs before in his tenure. “We were told that the initial amount that was allotted for that project included the signs and the signage of the roads, and we weren’t aware until yesterday we were supposed to order those signs.” He says it was a misunderstanding,

Ultimately, Lovett says he doesn’t want to place blame; students’ safety is the main concern.

Transportation Cabinet spokesman Keith Todd says what’s done is done, and now it’s time to work together to install the signs. “Lets get them ordered, and get them in, and get them put up as quickly as possible," he says.

Until then, Curtner will wave cars in the right direction, and maybe the blue lights will slow them down.

The school district has ordered four sets of school zone lights for $1,500. The transportation cabinet will install them when they arrive. They’re expected to be there in 10 days. Todd said the transportation cabinet has ordered school zone lights for districts before, but every contract is different.

School zone signs will go up in front of the school and in back. In front, speeds will be reduced to 45 mph. In the back, they’ll be 35 mph.

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