Road improvements scheduled for Mike Padgett Highway to help curb fatal accidents

Work scheduled for Mike Padgett in 2013

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Tuesday night’s fatal wreck on Mike Padgett Highway in which a driver crossed the center line happened along on a stretch of road scheduled for improvements.

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A cross sits at the corner of Highway 56 and McKay Boulevard, where a 30-year-old woman was killed in a wreck Tuesday.   Chris Thelen/Staff
Chris Thelen/Staff
A cross sits at the corner of Highway 56 and McKay Boulevard, where a 30-year-old woman was killed in a wreck Tuesday.

Marquieta R. Cribbs, 30, was killed about 6 p.m., when she crossed the double-yellow line after she pulled out of Castle Pines mobile home park and struck a logging truck, Rich­mond County Deputy Coroner Mark Bowen said Wednesday.

A child with her at the time of the wreck was taken to the Medical College of Georgia Hospital, but his condition was unknown Wednesday.

The accident happened on a stretch of highway set for $22 million in work, including the addition of a raised concrete median and designated turn lanes.

Work is scheduled to begin in mid-2013, said Mike Keene, an area engineer for the Georgia Department of Transportation.

Keene said Wednesday that the final plans have been drafted and the department is focusing on appraising then purchasing right of way.

The road must be widened to make space for the concrete median, which will run 4.68 miles, from Bennock Mill Road to a point approximately 930 feet north of Old Waynesboro Road. There will be left-turn lanes at most cross­roads, including Goshen Road, Brown Road, Coun­try Place Road and Doug Barnard Park­way.

Keene said no changes were made in the design process and expects only minor tweaks in the plans as right-of-way is purchased.

The four-lane highway, Georgia Highway 56, has long been known as dangerous and deadly.

It has been 16 years since the highway hasn’t recorded a fatal wreck. There have been at least two deaths on Mike Padgett Highway every year since 1996; seven were recorded in 2008.

The highway’s first fatal wreck of 2011 happened in April, when three people in one car were killed after the driver pulled out in front of a log truck, police said.

Keene said there are no temporary measures that can be put in place to calm traffic, because it would delay the long-term project.

“The only thing is for folks to start slowing down,” Keene said. “That would help out a lot.”

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countyman 11/30/11 - 08:17 pm
Good to hear several large

Good to hear several large infrastructure projects are coming to South Augusta... They consist of Windsor Spring rd, Hwy 56, and I-520 from Gordon Hwy to Deans Bridge rd..

The Mike Padgett project faces the same problems Wrightsboro rd(I-520 to Jimmie Dyess Pkwy) and Windsor Spring rd (Tobacco rd to Hwy 88 in the city limits of Hephzibah) have to deal with. Multiple properties(businesses, homes) have to be purchased before they can begin construction.. Both Windsor Spring and Hwy 56 should break ground in the year 2012.. I-520 should begin next month or 2012, and for Wrightsboro rd who knows..

I have no idea why the Belair rd widening between Wrightsboro and the Belair Estates entrance/Jimmie Dyess Pkwy hasn't started yet..

InChristLove 11/30/11 - 11:00 pm
Mr. Keene is exactly right.

Mr. Keene is exactly right. If people would SLOW DOWN on Hwy 56 it would be safer. Cars fly down this road doing over 65 mph in most cases and add the logging trucks, chip trucks, semi's and just daily traffic to the mix only makes it worse.

On occassion you will see one maybe two patrol cars and people slow down for a while but it's right back to the same speed as soon as the patrol cars stop patroling.

Iwannakno 12/01/11 - 02:40 am
well back when the loop was

well back when the loop was more accessible the trucks could avoid the main drag.they have all been cut off forcing all traffic onto 56...this is what you get.

Augusta resident
Augusta resident 12/01/11 - 05:32 am
I saw a bumper sticker that

I saw a bumper sticker that says it all: I BET YOU COULD DRIVE BETTER IF THAT CELL PHONE WAS STUCK UP YOUR (you know what)

sjsypien 12/01/11 - 06:35 am
I live in the area of Brown

I live in the area of Brown Road and Mike Padgett. From what I've seen, all the bull they are talking about, like widening the road, isn't needed. The traffic lights would do the most to stop the death toll, though. It wouldn't take 2 years to get that done and the results would be apparent quite quickly. Why haven't they already installed traffic lights?

jd10865 12/01/11 - 07:31 am
Doug Barnard Parkway has a

Doug Barnard Parkway has a raised median and a posted ENFORCED speed limit of 45. Mike Padgett Hwy has no median and an UNENFORCED speed limit of 55. Seems kinda backwards to me...just sayin

Me 12/01/11 - 07:38 am
I wish that the "Powers that

I wish that the "Powers that be" who are making the decision of adding a concrete median to the center of DIEWAY 56 could actually LIVE off of it with their families and we would see how quickly they would change their minds about it AND how quickly work would begin!
A suicide lane would not cost as much and would be completed faster, it seems to me. It would also be a lot more useful to the citizens that live on or right off of 56. Yes, I do realize that they still have to purchase land from homeowners and businesses, but I bet if they lived on this road, it would be sped up!
If people would actually drive in the right lane as they are supposed to, do the speed limit and really watch what is going on around them, some of the problems would be eliminated. This is especially true from Brown Road to in front of Food Lion shopping center!
In most cases, it is not the semis that are causing the problems, it's the regular vehicles! The drivers seem to forget that semis cannot stop on a dime. If you actually go back and look at the causes, most of the time it involves alcohol, cell phones, or plain old distracted driving. Sometimes it is others who cause wreck as it seems that 1/3 of the people that drive this road do not understand what slow to turn means or what the turn signals inside their vehicles are used for.
Every time there is a wreck, my family and I actually do a "roll call" to make sure none of our extended family are safe and sound! Please, everyone, pay attention to your surroundings! I tell my teenage children (who drive the road on almost daily basis) that I am not as concerned on their driving skills, as I am everyone else's and that they must ALWAYS pay attention to the other drivers!

seenitB4 12/01/11 - 08:10 am
How many more deaths b4

How many more deaths b4 something now..

tanbaby 12/01/11 - 08:11 am
i agree with the post about

i agree with the post about people slowing down, but it seems to me that most of these accidents involve log trucks and cars pulling out in front of them...when are drivers going to learn that you CAN'T pull out in front of a vehicle, let alone a LOADED tractor trailer ??????

Little Lamb
Little Lamb 12/01/11 - 08:49 am
I dunno, JD. I haven't

I dunno, JD. I haven't gotten a speeding ticket on Doug Barnard yet.

mikeelliott 12/01/11 - 02:13 pm
Like Me in a previous post, I

Like Me in a previous post, I also live in the area of Brown and 56 and travel 56 almost daily. I have for about 31 years, as well as my wife and 3 children. We have never been involved with an accident on the road. Also, if you were to do a little research you will find that most accidents were the result of carelessness in one form or another.
The work on this road has been in the works for many years as I recall going to a hearing at Gracewood Community Center some years back. Funding troubles probably slowed progress. Turning lanes (suicide lanes) are a thing of the past according to Ga. D.O.T.)
Until the work gets done common sense needs to be considered, mainly, pay attention to the conditions.
If traffic is heavy, remain in the right lane unless you are passing.
Just because the limit is 55, 50 is safer on this stretch & will only cause about a 2 minute difference in arrival.
Another recurring problem:all the weaving in & out of traffic trying to make up for the fact that someone might be a little late-get up sooner.
Simple stuff.
I do pray for all the folks who are involved with the latest accident on Tues.

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