November 14, 2014
Will these new signs be enough to get drivers to stop?
At the November 3rd BOC meeting, the Bethel Church Rd.& Hwy 212 W intersection was on the agenda again. The problem with intersection was brought to the BOC’s attention at their 10/15/14 meeting after a fatality at the intersection. By October 27th there had been two more wrecks there.
It is unfortunate that neither the County Manager nor any member of the BOC did any research at all about the wrecks at this intersection. The statistics from the Georgia State Patrol and the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office were presented to the BOC on 11/3/14 by Mary Patrick (who lives near the intersection).
The reports show wrecks at the intersection from 2002-present. There have been 27 wrecks; however, since January 1, 2013–present there have been 12 wrecks. Almost half the wrecks in twelve years at that intersection have occurred in the last 22 months.
The BOC was asked again to “do something” instead of making excuses and trying to blame others. It seems obvious to the people that travel in this area that traffic has increased, and it is time for the BOC to step up and fix the problem.
When the BOC discussed this issue—it was on the agenda—there were several ideas presented. The Sheriff did say that the best thing to do was to make this intersection a 4-way stop. However, that takes time with the State DOT. The speed limit, highly reflective signs, warning signs, and rumble strips were discussed. Comm. Henry had already suggested a sign that warned drivers that Hwy 212 did not stop. Mary Patrick suggested a sign that said “dangerous intersection.”
It has been over a month since the fatality at Bethel Church Rd. and Hwy 212 W. This week there are now two new “stop ahead” signs that have been placed on Bethel Church Rd.; these signs are in between the old “stop ahead” signs and the actual stop sign at the intersection. There are no warning signs—such as the one suggested by Comm. Henry or one that states “dangerous intersection.” The speed limit signs have all been changed to 45mph as well.
When Comm. Salmon talked to citizens along Bethel Church Rd. before the 11/3/14 meeting he asked them if they thought there was a problem. He was told it was a serious problem and more than a change in a speed limit sign would be necessary. We agree. We also think that just an additional “stop ahead” sign will have little impact on the problem; however, we can continue to hope there will be no more fatalities or wrecks at this intersection and that a 4-way stop will be pursued.