|Wellington Police Chief Lee Barry sights in the laser radar to take readings on vehicles approaching the city from the direction of Price on U.S. Highway 6. Since the four lane opened up, Barry indicates that speeds on the road have increased and the situation has spilled over into Wellington.|
Lee Barry thought he had seen it all in his years as Wellington's police chief.
For example, Barry said he once had a woman read him the riot act for pulling her over to tell her she had a low tire on one side of her car that had been worn down to the cords.
In another incident, the police chief had a truck driver tailgate him one foot from his patrol vehicle's back bumper from Price to Wellington, honking the horn all the way. The trucker then passed Barry on a double yellow line so he could get to an eatery in town more quickly.
But what the police chief is seeing now doesn't have an odd quality, but it creates a danger to motorists traveling on U.S. Highway 6. That danger comes from drivers who are increasingly gaining speed coming through Wellington.
"Since the highway between Price and Wellington has been turned into four lanes, the speeding has really picked up," pointed out Barry. "We seem to not only be getting more people speeding, but they are doing it at a higher rate of travel."
Most Carbon County residents know that driving fast through the 40 mile per hour zone in Wellington can result in a ticket. Yet a large percentage of the citations Barry and his officers write are to local drivers.
"It's surprising that about a third of our citations are given to residents from Carbon and Emery County," said Barry. "I think sometimes I have cited just about everyone who lives in the east county area at one point or another.
Barry said speeds picked up most during the actual construction period on the road, despite the fact there is a law that was put on the books a few years ago that double the fines for speeding in construction zones. While there will still be more construction on the road starting this spring in the area, the now wide open road between the two towns, that is presently posted at 60 mph has become a raceway for some.
Barry said that he and his officers have clocked some drivers going over 80 mph coming into Wellington from the west, although speeders who get cited most often fall into the 60 to 70 mph range.
"To me it was interesting that the higher speeds actually came during the construction, but regardless, the speeding continues and we will keep citing people that are coming through town too fast from both directions," said the chief.
Barry said that often his force will pull someone over for speeding and will find other things wrong as well, most often seat bell violations.
Traditionally the biggest speeders have come from the east into the Wellington area. In that area the speed is posted at 45 mph from about the road to Nine Mile Canyon until just outside of downtown Wellington where it drops to 40 mph.
Some county and state police have reported clocking people at over 90 mph coming into the area from Cat Canyon just east of the Wellington..
"Another problem I have also been seeing is that people are not stopping for stop signs coming onto the highway from side streets. If we see that we always cite them. I have seen way too many serious accidents because people didn't stop at those in this town," concluded Barry.