Call for a lowered speed limit - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Call for a lowered speed limit

September 5, 2007

Lee County -- Some drivers morning commute was disrupted when a car slammed into the back of a tractor trailer rig on busy Highway 82 west of Albany. The people in the car were seriously injured.

 Just after nine Wednesday morning, the truck driver says he ran out of gas on 82 near Fussell Road. Headed east, the trucker attempted to turn left across five lanes of traffic. When he did, this Buick hit the back end of the tandem trailer.

Herman Hawkins witnessed the crash.  Hawkins said "He was going to make a turn from the right hand lane over the left. The car was in the inside lane, and she changed lanes to try to miss him. But in the process caught the back of the truck. "

 78 year old Elizabeth Bell of Shellman was the driver of the car that hit the rear of the truck.  She suffered a fractured ankle, and had to undergo emergency surgery. Her son, 52 year old Robert Bell of Albany was a passenger in the car. He was cut on his head. Both were wearing their seat belts.

 The truck driver, 57 year old Larry Lockley of Hernando, Mississippi, is charged with improper lane change.

 That stretch of U-S 82 in South Lee County is one of the fastest growing areas in South Georgia. Drivers say the amount of traffic on the road is growing as well, and it's dangerous because many people drive too fast. Some folks want the speed limit to be lowered.

Big rigs flying 65 miles per hour into one of the fastest growing population and business sections of Lee County, along U.S. 82 between North Doublegate and Ledo Road. The road is packed with cars and trucks, especially in the peak morning and early evening hours.

Marilyn Bullington sees it everyday from her store, and says it is a danger zone. Bullington says "the problem I see is the speed limit is too high."

In this mile long stretch the speed limit falls from 65 to 45 miles per hour, but drivers say that speed limit is too often ignored. One driver said "People still speed too much. This is 55, it changes to 45 up here. And you've got trucks and everybody else just flying by. They don't pay attention to what's going on on the side roads, or people entering the highway."

Another driver said "Every time you come out, there is just people flying up and down. And when I'm toting big loads like I got on the back of the truck, they'll just about run over you."

Bullington says she has seen the traffic load on 82 quadruple since she moved there in 1989, and with new business and residential growth skyrocketing, the number of cars on the highway will too. Another driver said "they are doing lots of building, so therefore it's going to get nothing but worse. It'll be a congested area right here."

 Bullington said "it's just a matter of time before it doubles again, so we definitely need something done out here with the speed limit, to slow down the fatalities and the accidents that happen daily out here."

The drivers we talked to said the traffic light at North Doublegate Drive has helped, but said traffic is still coming too fast, into one of the busiest and fastest growing sections in South Georgia.

Bullington and most of the drivers we talked to  said they think the speed limit should be lowered to 45-miles per hour on that section of U-S 82 and should be better enforced.

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