School traffic impacts Highway 69 in big way, police reporting

By NICOLE SMITH
Posted 8/23/17

Daily Mountain Eagle

OAKMAN — School traffic at Oakman Middle School is beginning to ease up, but law enforcement is still concerned about the traffic volume blocking a state highway.

At the Oakman Town Council meeting Monday night, Oakman …

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School traffic impacts Highway 69 in big way, police reporting

Posted

Daily Mountain Eagle

OAKMAN — School traffic at Oakman Middle School is beginning to ease up, but law enforcement is still concerned about the traffic volume blocking a state highway.

At the Oakman Town Council meeting Monday night, Oakman Police Chief Ken Marbury said he is concerned about the middle school’s traffic backing up onto Highway 69 — that connects to School Street — when school is dismissed each day.

Marbury said on the first day of school last Monday that traffic wasn’t cleared until 4:23 p.m.; however, he did say it steadily improved through the week, with traffic being cleared by 3:06 p.m. Friday. He said if parents could arrive closer to dismissal time to pick up their children, traffic would continue to flow off the highway.

“If they could not come to that area until the bell rings, it would be such a blessing for us,” Marbury said. “Highway 69 is a state highway, and we can’t just block that road. We’ve got to have clear access through there for emergency vehicles, along with the flowing of traffic.”

Oakman Middle School Principal Chris Walton did say traffic was heavy on the first few days of school, but has improved since.

On Tuesday, he said cars were no longer lined up at the school by 3:12 p.m.

Walton said a new dismissal plan was implemented this year where car riders are picked up behind the school and bus riders board their designated buses at the front of the school. Now that the new routine has been established, Walton said traffic on campus has been smoother.

“We have tried to uniform it and make it safer for the kids,” Walton said.

On Tuesday afternoon, Marbury continued to direct stalled traffic on Highway 69 as early as 2:45 p.m. outside the school.

Since Marbury is the only employee of the Oakman Police Department, the Town of Parrish has agreed to let their assistant police chief, Charles “Chuck” Lilley, come to Oakman each day to help Marbury direct traffic. Lilley has been assisting Marbury since last week.

Walton said an increase in enrollment has contributed to heavier traffic volume at the school.

In an unrelated matter, a resident of Oakman informed the town council Monday night that a ditch at the corner of Peach Street and Spring Street in Oakman has become very dangerous, and is traveled by a county school bus.

Marbury said the area will be barricaded off, and the Walker County Commission is being contacted about repairing the ditch.