Before the fatal accident that killed four people Nov. 4 at the intersection of Highways 88 and 296 in rural Jefferson County, there were six other reported accidents there in the past two years.
According to Kyle Collins, the district communications specialist with the state Department of Transportation’s East Central Georgia Office, his office began reviewing data on this intersection Nov. 7.
“Over the last year, the department has noticed an increase in traffic incidents at this location. This intersection is currently under Georgia DOT review for possible changes,” he said. “A traffic study analysis will determine what changes we may implement. This will be completed in-house by our Traffic Operations Department in Tennille.”
While the accident sparked conversations among Jefferson County commissioners at their work session last Monday as to how the intersection could be made safer, Collins said DOT’s evaluation was initiated in-house and as of Thursday the department had not received any formal request from any local governmental bodies.
“No significant improvements have been made at this location since SR 88 was converted to a four-lane divided highway,” Collins said. “At that time, rumble strips were put in place, oversize warning signs indicating that motorists on SR 88 do not stop were installed and larger stop signs were installed as well.”
He said the Georgia DOT does track traffic incident trends and has a district traffic safety coordinator who visits state route incident locations after fatalities occur.
“This person does evaluations of pavement markings and signage, while also taking measurements of any curves, roadway grades and lane widths,” Collins said. “He also reviews law enforcement incident reports.”
Collins said that while a caution light would not be applicable and the Georgia DOT does not do overhead light installs anymore, possible additions to the intersection the department is likely to consider include advanced warning rumble strips, striping, flashers or signs on Highway 296.
“The department will also study the median crossing at Highway 88 to see if safety alterations are warranted there as well,” he said.
“The evaluation study should be completed in the coming months and shall determine the best short, intermediate or long-term goals for this location,” Collins added. “Safety is our No. 1 priority at all times.”