Heavy traffic increases intersections' danger

A busy downtown road crossing near the heart of Augusta's medical center tops the 2008 list of the most accident-prone intersections in Richmond County.

 

Last year, there were 76 accidents at 15th Street and Walton Way, according to an annual study released by the county's Department of Traffic Engineering.

Most of the wrecks at the intersection -- which isn't far from Medical College of Georgia Hospital and the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center -- were rear-end accidents, statistics show. That tells traffic engineers that motorists are driving aggressively in that area and that signal timings might need to be tweaked, said city traffic engineer Steve Cassell, who called the area a "high-speed, high-traffic corridor."

In close second was the intersection of Wrightsboro Road and Jackson Road, with 75 accidents. Deans Bridge Road at Gordon Highway came in third with 65.

Mr. Cassell said each of the top 10 intersections has a high number of vehicles passing through daily, so accidents are more likely.

"The common denominator with all these is that they are the highest-volume intersections," Mr. Cassell said. "Sometimes you have a lot of accidents and it's not because of a specific problem; it's simply a part of the volume out there."

At others, the problem is quite clear. Crews are working on the road near Washington Road and Boy Scout Road/Center West Parkway -- No. 4 on the list with 64 accidents last year.

A steep incline on the Center West side of the intersection has caused a large number of "T-bone" accidents, Mr. Cassell said. This is because left-turning drivers, who are supposed to yield to traffic, slowed when they approached the steep incline and were struck by oncoming drivers. Crews are planning to level the road.

On Deans Bridge Road at Gordon Highway, rear-end accidents are occurring in the right-turn lanes.

Drivers are stopping at the yield sign and causing accidents for those not paying attention behind them. Mr. Cassell said officials are looking at correcting the problem with new lane striping.

The top 10 are prone to accidents, but not deaths. There were no fatal accidents at any of the intersections on the list.

Mr. Cassell said that's curious but not unheard of. In areas with lots of traffic, people drive slower, so fatal injuries are less likely. Rural roads seem to have more serious accidents because of the higher speeds, he said.

Reach Adam Folk at (706) 823-3339 or adam.folk@augustachronicle.com.

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View more detail about intersections' accident history in our database.

TOP 10 INTERSECTIONS FOR ACCIDENTS IN 2008

AccidentsInjuriesDeaths
1. 15th Street at Walton Way76160
2. Wrightsboro Road at Jackson Road/North Leg Road75130
3. Deans Bridge Road at Gordon Highway6590
4. Washington Road at Boy Scout Road/Center West Parkway64100
5. Gordon Highway at Wheeless Road/Highland Avenue62150
6. Furys Ferry Road at River Watch Parkway53170
7. Peach Orchard Road at Windsor Spring Road5180
8. Stevens Creek Road at Washington Road4840
9. Wheeler Road at Marks Church Road4790
10. Gordon Highway at Jimmie Dyess Parkway45100

Source: Richmond County Department of Traffic Engineering