Dangerous Intersection: What's being done?

Dangerous Intersection: What's being done?
Intersection of Highway 300 and Highway 32 (Source: GDOT)
Intersection of Highway 300 and Highway 32 (Source: GDOT)
Theresa Wright (Source: WALB)
Theresa Wright (Source: WALB)
Van Mason (Source: WALB)
Van Mason (Source: WALB)

WORTH CO., GA (WALB) - Thousands of drivers travel along Highway 300 every day because it's a major artery to I-75. But along Highway 300, there is one intersection that has drivers concerned and traffic officials scratching their heads.

That intersection is at Highway 32.

It's where those two highways meet that danger and tragedy collide.

WALB News 10's Catherine Patterson investigated what many drivers are calling a dangerous intersection, and what's really being done to make it safer.

What is about Highway 300 at Highway 32?

In the past five years, six people have been killed at the intersection at Highway 300 and Highway 32.

When you look at the intersection, nothing sticks out to you as the main culprit to numerous accidents.

That's why officials continue to add enhancements.

Traffic Engineer Van Mason said it's one of the few intersections they keep coming back to.

Tragedy at the intersection

Theresa Wright remembers the morning her brother Alan died at the intersection like it was yesterday.

"I woke up at 4 o'clock and I couldn't get back to sleep. So I just stayed up," she said.

Little did Theresa know, at that exact hour, her youngest brother Alan had been killed on his way to work.

State patrol troopers said Alan's motorcycle hit a pickup truck on Highway 300 at the intersection of Highway 32.

"I feel like that's why I was up at 4 a.m.," she said.  "I felt like Alan came to me. And that's what he was trying to tell me.  'I'm leaving so get ready.'"

Troopers reported the driver of the pickup truck didn't see Alan on Highway 300, and made a left turn in front of Alan.

"My brother died last year.  This year alone, there have been three accidents at that intersection," said Theresa. "I don't know.  I don't get it.  When I stop, I make sure ain't nothing coming."

What has officials stumped

It's an unanswered question Georgia Department of Transportation Traffic Engineer Van Mason asks himself as well.

"It's one of those things, it doesn't seem as if we've solved the issue yet," said Mason. "We haven't found that perfect combination of things yet. We're just going to keep plugging at it."

And it's not like they haven't done anything to enhance the intersection before.

"Over the years, rumble strips have been put down. We've increased signage, we've double indicated the advanced warning signs to advise that there's an intersection ahead.  And we've gone with larger stop signs so that they could be seen better," said Mason.

And the list goes on.

Yet still, since 2012, there have been 37 crashes resulting in 39 injuries and six fatalities.

"There's just something about that intersection," said Theresa.

What officials are trying next

Mason says right now, GDOT is considering a Quick Response Project.

"There are probably several factors.  It's hard for us to know what the driver is thinking," he said.

The plan is to move the Highway 300 southbound right turn lane about six feet to the west.

That will provide better line of sight for drivers on Highway 32.

GDOT said most of the crashes reported have involved Highway 32 traffic against Highway 300 southbound traffic.

Most are the result of drivers failing to yield the right of way.

Mason said he's also reaching out to others for their input.

"We also have a team of individuals of engineers to come down and do an Intersection Control Evaluation of that location to see if there's something that we locally haven't been seeing, or to come up with some recommendations that we haven't come up with here in the district yet," he said.

But while traffic operation officials work to find that missing puzzle piece to prevent these fatal wrecks, Theresa said she hopes her brother's death will serve as the reminder drivers need: not only to be extra cautious at this intersection, but on every roadway as well.

"He was our angel," said Theresa. "And he would be so happy to know that he's helping somebody.  Because this is helping somebody.  And we don't want anybody to feel like we feel now."

What do you think needs to be done to save lives?

We've heard from some viewers about their suggestions for what the intersection needs.

That includes one viewer who suggested a big sign with the number of accidents and deaths at the intersection to warn drivers.

Do you have a suggestion?

GDOT wants to hear it.

You can visit GDOT's website and submit a comment, question, or request.

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