Gary the Guardrail draws sympathy from supporters in North Clarksville
CLARKSVILLE, TN (CLARKSVILLE NOW) – A guardrail in north Clarksville is becoming a local celebrity, with his own Facebook page, a support petition and fans leaving him reclamation balloons, at following a series of wrecks that repeatedly damaged and repaired it.
“Gary the Guardrail” is located on the corner of Trenton and Tylertown Roads, next to the O’Connor Irish Pub and Grill. The narrowness of the intersection made it difficult for large trucks to turn into Tylertown without hitting Gary.
The petition to save Gary, started by North Clarksville resident Jason VanKirk, had collected more than 350 signatures as of Tuesday, April 20. She demands that the city adjust the white stop lines on Tylertown so that the trucks have more room to turn without hitting Gary.
“You just have a few drivers who seem to be confused out there or something,” VanKirk said. “There were a few other people who had talked about it and were trying to get someone to do something other than fix the railing.”
But because Trenton Road is a national highway (Hwy 48), changes to the intersection are the responsibility of the Tennessee Department of Transportation, according to City of Clarksville spokesperson Richard Stevens.
VanKirk said he was not sure, saying the changes needed were mostly to Tylertown Road, which falls under the city.
TDOT spokesperson Kathryn Schulte said Gary has been repaired seven times in the past three years, at a total cost of just under $ 22,000.
“TDOT is currently working with the city on a solution,” Schulte told Clarksville Now. “When the intersection was designed, Tylertown Road did not get as much road traffic as it does today. Engineers are considering extending the culvert (provided we have enough leverage) to make it easier to turn the semi-trailers. ”
Gain local fame
A Gary the Guardrail Facebook page was launched last year and has over 1,800 subscribers.
Clarksville Now contacted the owner of the page, who declined to share his identity, saying anonymity “was part of the fun.”
Mara Kutch, an owner in North Clarksville, said she joined the page because she was frustrated with infrastructure issues.
“It’s just something that every time I see it, I think of ignorance at this point,” Kutch said. “It’s what they do, they fix it the same way, nothing changes, and it’s the same results just days after it’s fixed. I think what bothers me more than anything is the money that is put into it that could be used elsewhere.