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Spike In Crashes On Bull Hill Road On Highway 12 In Benton County

BENTON COUNTY, Ark. (KFSM) — One stretch of road in Benton County is known for rollovers, head-on collisions and even deadly accidents. Bull Hill on Highway 12 ...

BENTON COUNTY, Ark. (KFSM) — One stretch of road in Benton County is known for rollovers, head-on collisions and even deadly accidents.

Bull Hill on Highway 12 in Benton county near Beaver Lake is heavily traveled, but also notorious for its curves and inclines.

Many people in the community, as well as first responders, are stumped as to what’s causing an increase in car accidents on this stretch of road with in the last few years.

Tom Scheffler lives near the road and says law enforcement increased their patrol of this area and even added flashing speed signs, but the accident calls keep coming in.

"There’s way too many accidents and people getting hurt and killed over there," Scheffler said.

Scheffler is no stranger to the stretch of road along Highway 12 in Benton County. The community calls it Bull Hill, he has another name for it.

"Bermuda triangle of Beaver Shores or Prairie Creek," he said.

Scheffler says by driving the road each day he's become used to stopping for accidents or switching his route to work.

In 2019, the Beaver Lake Fire Department responded to just over 50 car wrecks, more than 30 of them happened on this notorious hill. When the department gets the call, they know what to expect and say they roll out the whole station.

Two of the Bull Hill accidents resulted in a death, there have been countless injuries, and the department often has to use hydraulic tools to cut passengers out of vehicles. The root cause of all these accidents and the sheer number of them remains a question.

"Nobody really understands or knows why it’s happening it's really bizarre quite honestly," Scheffler said.

Scheffler says speeding, distracted driving, intoxication and wet roads lead their list of problems.

The steep inclines, drastic declines and sharp curves require extra attention, and no shoulder on Bull Hill adds an extra level of difficulty.

Scheffler says many people in the community believe the person behind the wheel is to blame.

"People, in general, say 'well it’s just people they don't know how to drive' in kind of a general statement and well there’s just something about that specific area that's different," Scheffler said.

Beaver Lake Fire Chief John Whisenant says he fears a fresh top to that part of the highway in 2018 could be a player in the increase of accidents, and he's not wrong.

"Out here along this narrow stretch of highway it's critically important that you follow the rules of the road," Whisenant said.

A representative for the Arkansas Department of Transportation says they are aware of the up-tick in accidents in that area.

ArDOT tested the surface of Bull Hill for slickness and the road scored as "adequate." The department says it's on the lower end of something they look to change at the moment.

ArDOT says when the weather warms up, crews will be on Bull Hill to create a friction course over the entire section of road. This basically means they will coat the top of the pavement with a sharp, gravel-like material to add traction.

A representative with ArDOT says crews should be out as early as June to begin work on the Bull Hill section of Highway 12.

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