Traffic counts climb, but accidents decrease - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Traffic counts climb, but accidents decrease

Valdosta - The number of vehicles on Valdosta streets is soaring. "We are experiencing a huge growth, and we see no end," said Von Shipman, Traffic Engineer.

But surprisingly, the number of accidents isn't. "We are now at a level that is similar to what was existing back in the early 1990's," said Shipman.

Traffic Engineer Von Shipman recently conducted a study that looked at traffic growth over the past 14 years and the most accident-prone intersections. The results show a slight increase in accidents between 1994 and 1997, but since then, the numbers have fallen and held steady. "Considering the growth we've had, we think that's a good barometer of what we've been able to do," said Shipman.

Shipman credits the decrease in accidents to continual road improvements by the city. "We don't wait for accidents to materialize before we start the ball rolling for improvements; we keep our eyes on critical intersections where there's congestion, and we try to mitigate it," said Shipman.

For more than five years now, the intersection at North Valdosta Road and Country Club Drive has seen more accidents than any other intersection in the city. But recent construction improvements, like widening and realigning the turning lanes, have cut the number of accidents nearly in half. "Approximately 50 less crashes have occurred at that intersection on a monthly basis since the project was completed," said Shipman.

As drivers, we often get frustrated with all the road construction around town, but its projects like these that are making our daily travels more convenient, and safer. "While it might mean you have to drive a little out of your way, we feel like it will save people time, it will save people frustration," said Shipman.

And most importantly, it will save lives.

posted by ashley.harper@walb.com

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