Cars traveling along the 65 mph stretch U.S. 19 near McKenzie Road
Dougherty County Commissioners at Monday's meeting in the Government Center in downtown Albany
Commissioner Jack Stone, Dougherty County Board of Commissioners
Bill Patel, Store Manager of Bill's Beer, Wine and Liquor along the U.S. 19
PUTNEY, GA (WALB) -
Is it dangerous to drive 65 miles-per-hour along part of the U.S. 19? One Dougherty County leader says it is.
Monday, Commissioner Jack Stone told county leaders the speed limit along a stretch of the Liberty Expressway through Putney should be lowered to 55.
Commissioner Stone says many wrecks have occurred in heavily traveled intersections along the 19, and he said it's time to take action before more people get hurt.
The big rigs and cars tearing down the road have some worried about safety.
"Yeah, 'cause I see so many times people go like a fly. You know, like 60, 75, 80, you know," said Bill Patel, Store Manager.
Bill Patel manages the liquor store along U.S. 19 near the intersection with McKenzie Road, an area he said has been the site of major car accidents, which has him concerned about his customers.
"Yeah, because sometimes they take the turn and everything, and people behind them beep the horn and everything," said Patel.
It's part of the Liberty Expressway one county leader is focusing on.
"What we're gonna do is...I'm gonna try to get the state to change the speed limit to 55 miles an hour maybe from McKenzie Road down to Nelms Road on 19," said Commissioner Jack Stone, Dougherty County Board of Commissioners.
Commissioner Stone said the intersection of Nelms Road and U.S. 19 is especially alarming because of high traffic from businesses who are coming in and out of stores and then have to cross busy roads.
"Right in that area we had three wrecks in less than two weeks. One of them had to air lift two little girls. I think they took them to Macon or Atlanta somewhere. It's just a bad area right in there," said Stone.
He said crews are widening the intersection adding turn lanes on Nelms Road to give drivers more room, improve visibility and reduce wrecks. But it may not be enough.
"It's just a terrible situation and don't get me wrong, the state's trying to do the best they can and we try to do the best we know how to do. A red light was discussed in the area, and they said that will cause more trouble than it will help," Stone said.
But slowing down, Stone said, may have saved the lives of the handful of motorists who've died along the road in the last two years.
Stone says he fought for years to get a caution light installed near the intersection of Nelms Road and U.S. 19, but says it's only part of the equation to save lives. He said he plans to work with the county administrator to request the speed reduction from the state and potentially install speed strips on Nelms Road near the intersection.