Off-duty Franklin County sheriff’s deputies have been controlling traffic in front of Zaxby’s on Versailles Road since its opening June 4, and the restaurant’s owners – not the county – are paying for it.
“Every minute they’ve been out there it’s been Zaxby’s money paying for it,” co-owner Sandra Adams said during a phone interview Thursday.
“We hired them on as a courtesy to our guests – we are doing everything in our power to get people in as quickly as possible at lunch and dinner times and back on the road to where they need to be in the safest way possible.”
Adams said she and her business partner, Brad Kelly, told Sheriff Pat Melton about their safety concerns before opening on Versailles Road and asked if he had deputies who could help.
“We were asked by them,” Melton said. “After the accident in front of KFC they didn’t want to take any chances.”
An 84-year-old woman died in June 2011 after she attempted to make a left turn on Versailles Road from the KFC drive, The State Journal reported at the time. A second driver traveling east on U.S. 60 struck her vehicle on the driver’s side.
“It’s strictly a safety issue,” Melton said. “We’ve wanted to let everyone know there is a new entrance there and people need to be aware.”
The sheriff’s office has responded to three wrecks near Zaxby’s since it opened, Melton said Wednesday morning.
Adams says the deputies will be on hand as long as the new chicken joint is busy, but the owners are focused on finding a permanent solution in a traffic signal.
However, installation of a signal requires several steps including a traffic survey, said Chuck Wolfe, of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.
The survey would count vehicles and note how they move through the area, which would indicate if a signal is needed, Wolfe said. The study deals with the way a light and traffic affects the entire corridor, he said.
“It’s a heavily traveled road out there, and traffic signals have an effect on traffic far removed from just that signal location,” Wolfe said.
The restaurant’s location near the Parkside shopping center and Interstate 64 would show if the entrance warranted a light, Wolfe said.
“We simply want to make sure it’s safe for everyone,” Adams said.