Speed hump that was up now down

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 22, 2010

NATCHEZ — District 2 Adams County Supervisor Henry Watts ordered the county road department last week to lower the same speed hump near his house he asked them to raise last October.

Watts said he originally asked for the road department to raise the hump, which sits on Lindberg Avenue, because drivers were dangerously speeding down the street.

“People didn’t know (the old speed hump) was there. It was worthless, so (the county road department) built it up,” Watts said.

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Road Department Manager Curley Jones said Tuesday Watts requested last week the road department lower it, so two road department employees shaved it down and repainted the stripe.

Jones said he did not know how long the employees took to complete the project, but he said they were paid double their regular wage because they were on vacation last Thursday.

Watts said lowering the hump cost the county $71 in asphalt and took one hour and 20 minutes.

Watts said he requested the hump be lowered because by having the hump higher for more than one year — the public grew conditioned to slowing their cars in the area.

He said the large hump made the area safer. With the recent adjustment, the hump is still slightly larger than it was before it was raised last year, Watts said.

When Watts ordered the hump to be raised last year, some supervisors questioned whether he had the authority to authorize the construction on city roads.

City Engineer David Gardner said Natchez Alderman Mark Fortenbery recently told him the hump was being lowered.

Gardner said Watts probably had the authority to authorize construction on the hump, but he thinks the city should be notified.

“We don’t have a problem with the county doing work in the city at all. We just want to make sure if we’re putting in speed humps that it will adhere to our policy.”

Gardner said the city currently has a moratorium on building speed humps because the Natchez Board of Alderman has not adopted the policy on the humps his department drafted in 2008.

The speed hump Watts adjusted was already in existence before he made changes, so his requests to adjust it did not break the moratorium, Gardner said.

Gardner said recent studies on speed humps have helped compile very specific measurements and spacing formulas to make them most effective.

Studies have found that failing to follow the guidelines can actually result in more speeding because drivers accelerate to make up for being slowed down.

“It’s a mental thing,” Gardner said.

He said the policy, once adopted, will also call for a minimum of 75 percent support from residents in the neighborhood where the hump will be potentially placed.

Gardner said the Lindberg Avenue location of the speed hump in question would probably qualify as a location where speed bumps are safe and helpful.

To install a brand new speed hump, Gardner said it would cost approximately $1,200 without including the cost of signs on either side of the hump.

He said he could not predict the cost of adjusting the height of a speed hump, such as the one on Lindberg Avenue.