Heavy traffic increases intersections' danger

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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.

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Cars pass through the intersection of Walton Way and 15th Street -- the city's most dangerous intersection -- during the afternoon rush hour.  Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
Cars pass through the intersection of Walton Way and 15th Street -- the city's most dangerous intersection -- during the afternoon rush hour.

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.

ONLINE EXTRA

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

TOP 10 INTERSECTIONS FOR ACCIDENTS IN 2008

Accidents Injuries Deaths
1. 15th Street at Walton Way 76 16 0
2. Wrightsboro Road at Jackson Road/North Leg Road 75 13 0
3. Deans Bridge Road at Gordon Highway 65 9 0
4. Washington Road at Boy Scout Road/Center West Parkway 64 10 0
5. Gordon Highway at Wheeless Road/Highland Avenue 62 15 0
6. Furys Ferry Road at River Watch Parkway 53 17 0
7. Peach Orchard Road at Windsor Spring Road 51 8 0
8. Stevens Creek Road at Washington Road 48 4 0
9. Wheeler Road at Marks Church Road 47 9 0
10. Gordon Highway at Jimmie Dyess Parkway 45 10 0

Source: Richmond County Department of Traffic Engineering

Comments (6) Add comment
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g-dog express
0
Points
g-dog express 06/07/09 - 06:05 am
0
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If the common problem is rear

If the common problem is rear end accidents then people are trying to run a red light without paying attention to the person observing the law in front of them. It is amazing how many people run red lights in Columbia and Richmond Counties and the sheriff deputies do nothing.

dickworth1
954
Points
dickworth1 06/07/09 - 06:37 am
0
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I agree that most people do
Unpublished

I agree that most people do not stop for red lights and feel they
are the only ones on the road. When the amber light comes on, it means prepare to stop, not floor the accelerator to get thru the light even if it is red. This is the cause of a lot of accidents
and nothing is being done about it. Also, the engineers that put up yield signs for those making right turns is very confusing to all, for instance, at Riverwatch and stevens creek, the drivers turning right on green have a yield sign and the drivers turn left
from riverwatch onto stevens creek have a sign that states yield
on green. When did they make it a law that people turning right must yield to people turning left in front of them. Give the tickets to the traffic engineering dept.

JohnQPublic
5
Points
JohnQPublic 06/07/09 - 06:40 am
0
0
People who are driving need

People who are driving need to concentrate on duh..."driving the vehicle" and not talking on their cell phones. Hang up and drive because evidentally you cannot do both!

patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 06/07/09 - 09:05 am
0
0
Cell phones, cigarette

Cell phones, cigarette lighters that have fallen, lip stick application, tuning the radio in heavy traffic, texting, eating lunch or partying with friends while driving are all common ways to be distracted while behind the wheel. The vast majority of wrecks are a result of momentary inattention by the driver. In an ADD society, we can look for the trend to continue. Be sure to wear the belt of invulnerability so you don't have to be quite so aware all of the time.

iknowitwheniseeit
1
Points
iknowitwheniseeit 06/07/09 - 09:23 am
0
0
I'd be really interested in

I'd be really interested in the data on accidents between William Few and Fieldstone Way (the entrance to Chimney Hill) on Washington. There are many uncontrolled entrances on that stretch and no center turn lane. There seems to be a serious accident weekly at Blanchard and Washington.

bone
23
Points
bone 06/07/09 - 10:53 am
0
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here's one for columbia

here's one for columbia county folks: intersection of blanchard rd & hereford farm rd. i have come upon two accidents this year at that intersection and i imagine that it is only going to get worse in the future.

AugustaVoter
2
Points
AugustaVoter 06/07/09 - 10:44 pm
0
0
I have a suggestion for RC

I have a suggestion for RC traffic engineers: Stop Light Cameras. Increase safety and revenue.

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