Questions continue to be asked by some of the citizens of Pioche about the stop signs at what was a five-way intersection with Airport Road and Frenchie Road.

Controversy continues to swirl in Pioche over the closing of Frenchie Road, a five-way intersection with Airport Road, Lee Street and 4th North. (Dave Maxwell photo)

Questions continue to be asked by some of the citizens of Pioche about the stop signs at what was a five-way intersection with Airport Road and Frenchie Road.

At the Aug. 13 Pioche Town Board meeting, Les Derkovitz expressed his thought over the way the matter was handled, and what was done at Frenchie Road, where the five-way stop with Airport Road, Lee Street, and 4th North, had existed for many years.

Suddenly, townspeople found part of the road closed without explanation.

In a prepared statement, Derkovitz said no one in the area was notified of what was being proposed, or when and where the meeting was to be held if you objected.

He also felt a traffic study should have been conducted first to determine if new stop signs on Airport Road were necessary, “to indicate that the traffic needs to stop on Airport Road to make it possible for the traffic on the side roads to pass.”

Jim Cole stated putting stop signs up at the disputed intersection has rerouted people that don’t want to stop at the signs, to use the street in front of his house, thus coming onto private property.

He also said he thought the signs at that point will now make it necessary for truck drivers and school busses to have to stop twice and try to get going on a hill.

Town Board chair Glennon Zelch said later he would refer Mr. Derkovitz to the County Road Department to get his questions answered. “The town board does not have the authority to close the road, nor to put stop signs up, the county road department does. The only part the town had in it was agreeing that Frenchie should be closed. We don’t have the authority to say ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ about putting up stop signs. The most the board can do about it is put in a request to have the signs put up.”

Bottom line, part of Frenchie Road is now closed, but does allow access to two families who live at one end of the road. “The road stayed in place down to their properties,” said Zelch, “from there on it was discontinued.”

He added, “When you look back in the records, there was never a dedicated right of way created for Frenchie Road. Old timers tell me it was originally a firebreak road, and over time and usage, it got paved when it should not have been, because they paved right across some private property. So, to get things legal, Frenchie Road pretty much needed to disappear.” That also gets rid of the 5-way intersection at that point. “It gets the public off of private property. It isn’t needed,” Zelch said.

He noted the Bureau Land Management wants to dispose of some of the land in that area, “and they want the legalities of Frenchie Road cleaned up, and since it never had a right of way, it’s an illegal road, basically.”

Zelch admitted some of the towns people, such as Derkovitz and others, had complained the use of the road should be continued, “because we have always used it,” to which Zelch replied, “Maybe you have always used it, but it was always illegal.”