September 5, 2013 10:43:56 AM
Nathan Gregory - [email protected]
Fourteen-year Renon Lane resident John Prevost has been advocating a solution to make the intersection of his road and Buck Egger Road in Caledonia safer almost as long as he's lived there. Anything that can be done to curb speeding and the high potential for car accidents is needed, he said.
Lowndes County supervisors took the first step toward a solution Tuesday by authorizing their engineer, Bob Calvert, to find out the appraised value of five acres on private property near the spot presenting the hazard.
Board president Harry Sanders said he, supervisor Bill Brigham and county road manager Ronnie Burns recently met with the owner of that property to discuss the county buying the land in order to relocate the intersection.
The county would only be able to purchase the land at its appraised value, but Sanders said the property owner would be willing to sell it for that amount. It is not guaranteed the county would buy the land, he said. The area is in District 1, which Sanders represents.
The county has tried to mitigate speeding in the area by putting up signs with flashing lights advising motorists to slow down, but that has proven to be inadequate.
"It is a dangerous intersection where the (school) bus comes out now," Brigham said. "You come over the crest of a hill and you're right on that bus trying to go through that intersection."
Sanders added he had heard complaints from school bus drivers that motorists may drive over the top of the hill and rear-end their buses.
"They almost had a critical accident there a couple of weeks ago," he said.
The county has looked at options in the past that would alleviate the problem, including filling in the valley, lowering a hill and placing a stop sign at the intersection, none of which would be feasible without affecting private property or preventing vehicles from being rear-ended after they come to a halt. If the county can purchase that property the intersection could be located 500 feet further down to help the intersection, which would be the simplest solution, Sanders said.
Prevost said he and other area residents have also nearly been struck while driving in the area.
"There's a little knoll right there... All the kids would use that as a jumping ground," Prevost said. "They come flying down there from Cobb Road and they would just fly over. You can go airborne. I've got a pickup and I can barely see over it but if you're in a car, you can't see ... If they're going to buy that gravel pit to relocate the road, that's money well spent. You can't put a price on a life."
Nathan Gregory covers city and county government for The Dispatch.