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OPINION | DRIVETIME MAHATMA: State home to short highways

by Frank Fellone | April 3, 2021 at 7:52 a.m.

Dear Mahatma: Wondering what the shortest state highway is? Wondering if Arkansas 266 in Conway, at 0.87 mile, is a candidate? -- Sincerely Wondering

Dear Sincerely Wondering: Candidate, yes. Winner, no.

The Arkansas Department of Transportation roadway inventory lists Arkansas 399, in De Queen, as the shortest. It's 0.535 mile long. Or short.

This got us to thinking. Doesn't the highway department have a program under which it will gladly turn over highways to cities and counties? Something 0.535 mile long ought to belong to the city of De Queen, our pea brain says.

Short answer, no. Long answer cometh from Randy Ort of the highway department.

Transfers of highways to cities and counties occurs in two circumstances.

First, the department will transfer roads to cities or counties that want them. Or want to do things with a roadway not allowed by the department. Such has recently happened in Pine Bluff.

Second, there are partnering projects with cities or counties. For example, a city or county will agree to share in the cost of a project, such as providing right-of-way. But if a city or county can't afford that cost, it might offer to simply assume ownership, thus also assuming the future cost of maintenance. ArDot has recently dropped some highways in Hempstead County as part of a partnership for improvements to Arkansas 195.

By the way, we looked up Arkansas 399 in De Queen. It connects West Locke Drive with West Collin Raye Drive.

Raye was an eminently successful country singer, peaking in the 1990s. We fondly remember one of his No. 1 hits, "I Want You Bad (And That Ain't Good)."

Greater truth seldom spake. Especially the ain't good part.

Dear Mahatma: Golf carts on city streets, often with underage drivers, no plates, no seat restraints, overloaded with youngsters and generally seen in affluent neighborhoods. I have returned to Our Fair City after a 20-year sabbatical and this is new. -- What's The Story

Dear What: The story is that driving a golf cart on a city street in Little Rock -- indeed in most cities in Arkansas -- is illegal. Flat out should not be done. We write about this from time to time, and this being spring, that time is now.

The Little Rock Police Department has even been known to issue news releases to remind the public not to drive golf cars, or all-terrain vehicles, in city streets.

Why not? Because it's dangerous. A golf cart has no chance in a collision with a car or, worse, one of the bazillion pickups on our streets. If the cart has no chance, the scrawny teenager driving has less.

State law allows municipalities to craft exceptions to the golf cart rule. Fairfield Bay is one. Nice, quiet Fairfield Bay with all those golf courses.

Did we mention all-terrain vehicles?

Just last week an all-terrain crash caused a fatality in Ouachita County. Its driver was making a u-turn on Arkansas 76 and overturned into a ditch.

Vanity plate seen on a pickup in Greenbrier: FATBOTM


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