Lee Co. deals with traffic danger zone - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Lee Co. deals with traffic danger zone

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By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  A dangerous stretch of road in south Lee County is getting the attention of county commissioners.   

There've been 70 wrecks so far this year on the stretch of U. S. 19 between the bypass and Winn Dixie.

Commissioners are looking for solutions that could range from lower speed limits to more traffic lights. And law officers say drivers need to do their part and lose all the distractions.

Each one of the more than two dozen businesses in this area has an entrance or two, basically creating an intersection, and with cars darting in and out commissioners are looking at consolidating curb cuts to cut down on crashes.

 Mother of two Sandricka Wilson gets nervous every time she travels this congested stretch of Highway 19 to pick up her husband in Albany. "I've got my kinds in the back and they really, they make you angry, especially when you got the kids in the back and they ride up on your bumper."

She's not alone, drivers complain in the heavy traffic between the Winn Dixie and Liberty Expressway many just aren't paying attention. "There's people darting in and out, no blinkers, no nothing, cutting you off," said Concerned Motorist Ralph Beamon.

Part of the problem is the increased volume of traffic from those living in Lee County but working in Albany. According to the state patrol distractions cause as much as 80% of the crashes where they respond.

"You've got to remember that's a big piece of machinery you're behind and that will kill you instantly if you do not pay attention," said GSP Cpl. Scott McClure.

Commissioners worry the growth at Forrester Parkway may only make the situation worse. That's why they're looking to solutions like expanding Forrester Parkway to Oakland Parkway.

"More than likely we'll see another light in that area somewhere south of Winn Dixie and of course there'd be a light at Forrest Parkway," said Lee County Commissioner Rick Muggridge.

Motorists welcome any effort to make Highway 19 safer. "They definitely need it but, what can you do, deal with it," said Korey Johnson.

Cutting down on the number of crashes, that can quickly turn this stretch of Highway 19 into something that looks like any busy Atlanta road.

Law enforcement says it also helps when drivers use their turn signals especially on this stretch with the turn lane.

The GSP will go as far as pulling the bulb from your taillight to check it to see if you've used your signal if your involved in a crash and if you haven't you can be sighted.

Lee County Commissioner have also talked about forcing more businesses to share a curb cut to reduce the number of intersections and installing another traffic light between the Winn Dixie and Forrester Parkway.

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