Construction on Mike Padgett Highway aims to change dangerous patterns

DOT officials are hopeful a $29 million dollar construction project underway will make the highway safer.
DOT officials are hopeful a $29 million dollar construction project underway will make the highway safer.

WAYNESBORO, Ga. (WJBF)- Statistics from the Georgia Department of Transportation count 835 crashes on Mike Padgett Highway from 2013 to last week. In those, 300 people have been injured. GDOT officials are hopeful a $29 million dollar construction project underway will make the highway safer.

Mike Padgett Hwy. is known to be deadly. Michelle Rodier takes it to work.

“It’s a pretty dangerous stretch of road,” she said. “I drive by [crashes] on a fairly regular basis.

This week there have been at least two crashes, one of them deadly.

“The one this morning was pretty horrific,” Rodier said.

It happened when 23-year-old Jacob Jackson lost control of his vehicle and veered into the opposing lane, where his car collided with a vehicle coming from the opposing direction.

But nearly half of the incidents are rear-end collisions.

Orange cones line the highway from Bennock Mill Rd. to Old Waynesboro Rd. as crew works to add more lanes and medians, which will hopefully bring down the numbers of crashes.

They are working on those five miles of Mike Padgett Hwy. because data shows that its one of the most dangerous stretches. But it looks like things are getting worse before they can get better.

“I know there have been maybe a slightly higher amount of incidents on Mike Padgett within the last year,” said Kyle Collins of GDOT. “Obviously we had the active construction zone.”

“Even with the speed limit being 35 for the construction right now, most people are driving that road at 45 to 50 mph in the morning,” Rodier said.

Collins says the high volume of drivers may be a factor in the high number of crashes

Another frequent traveler on the highway also says he sees a lot of speeding, among other driver errors.

“They drive very aggressively,” he said. “And they go too fast. Pretty easy combination.”

Collins says they are hoping to wrap up the construction by the end of February or early March.

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