Dear Mahatma: Arkansas is now blessed with six lanes on Interstate 40 between Conway and Little Rock. Unfortunately, a few drivers believe they should spread out and assure that all lanes are used at the same speed. When will signage announce and troopers enforce that inside lanes are for passing only? Some people apparently think the third lane was built just for them. -- Backa Da Line.
Dear Line: Our immediate thought was, yeah, what's up with that? But we were reminded that on a six-lane highway -- three in each direction -- the rule about moving into the right lane so that others could pass in the left lane does not apply. It's OK to pass on either the right or left when an interstate highway has three lanes in each direction.
This reminds us of a communication from Mark Headley, District 6 engineer for the Arkansas Department of Transportation. He was questioned by a citizen about the new Maumelle exit: When will the exit, No. 146 on Interstate 40, appear on the state's official highway map?
Headley said the interchange will appear in the highway map that will be released next year.
Known as White Oak Crossing, it's now the third way to get into and out of Maumelle, a growing city if there ever was one. Our source in Maumelle tells us the interchange has, to his eye, helped to alleviate morning rush-hour traffic on Maumelle Boulevard.
Our own observations, having taking the route several times, is that there is fixin' to be a whole lot of development from the exit into Maumelle. This raises the eternal and unanswerable question: Does development follow the highway, or does the highway follow the development?
Dear Mahatma: I am shocked -- shocked -- at the newspaper's complicity in allowing speeders to speed unchecked in Central Arkansas. I refer to Today's Radar Speed Checks, in which the newspaper alerts its scofflaw readers how to avoid radar speed checks. On a lighter note, I saw this license plate: DIVA4U2. -- Your Fort Smith Hall Monitor
Dear Monitor: We are reminded of the comic strip "Funky Winkerbean." One of the characters would periodically serve as a high school hall monitor, armed with a machine gun.
Are things that tough in Fort Smith?
That small box about radar checks by Little Rock and North Little Rock police, and Pulaski County sheriff's deputies, has been in the newspaper since memory runneth to the contrary. Twenty-five years, at least. To our enfeebled mind, this constitutes fair warning.
Please read the second sentence in the box: "Police and sheriff's deputies may conduct radar checks in other locations as well."
Dear Mahatma: Regarding the ongoing conversation about use of the interstate passing lanes, in Texas the signage says Keep Right Except to Pass. That's a big difference from Slower Traffic Keep Right here in Arkansas. -- Right Lane
Dear Right: We do not disagree. What else can we say?