Zoning board member raises safety concerns about Waterloo Road Dollar General

Terry Bolton, a member of the Russellville zoning board, shared some safety concerns during the Monday night Russellville City Council meeting, citing a lack of a safe amount of light when turning into the Dollar General on Waterloo Road.

“Nineteen school buses go through there four times a day, besides employees at the schools and the students, as well as activities at night. It’s a dangerous situation for everybody,” Bolton said.

Bolton urged action be taken to avoid the risk of a potentially fatal accident.

“You’ve got kids going, you’ve got families going,” Bolton said. “I want to ask you to immediately revoke the business license, on a temporary basis, before you have to walk up to somebody’s family and say ‘I’m sorry for what happened out there.’”

Russellville Mayor David Grissom said he called Russellville Electric the next day and asked the department to go by and ascertain whether more lighting was needed.

“They recommended we put a light at the entrance,” added Grissom, “and they placed the light that same day.”

Russellville City Councilman Jamie Harris, who is also a zoning board member, confirmed the light had been installed.

“Anytime a citizen has a concern, I take that seriously,” said Harris, who said as far as he knows there was no discussion about a turning lane possibly being needed prior to Bolton speaking at the Oct. 3 council meeting. “To my knowledge, we’ve never been told a turning lane was needed there,” he said.

Gene Aycock, developer for Dollar General, said if there had been a requirement for a turning lane there, “we would certainly put it in, but there was no requirement. We just did the project according to the plans drawn up by the architects and engineers, and we always have a final inspection from Dollar General.”

Aycock, who explained he’s built hundreds of Dollar Generals, said he doesn’t recall ever having had to put a turning lane on a city street. He said driving an appropriate speed is always a big factor for safety.

“The architectural plans we got were given to the city, the building inspector and the county,” added Aycock, “and no one mentioned a need for a decel lane there,” he added.

Grissom remarked Dollar General has built “hundreds of Dollar Generals throughout the country,” noting the company has engineers and architects who sign off on plans and locations. “If they felt there were safety issues like Mr. Bolton is describing, I think they would have done something to mitigate those issues,” he added.