It's been almost 9 months since the Gray Bypass opened in Jones County. The new roadway caused deadly problems for drivers, but has there been any improvement since then?
This portion of the Gray Bypass saw 3 people dying in car accidents in its first 10 days after it opened.
"It was just a total nightmare," Jones County Sheriff Butch Reece said. "But after the fatalities, some changes were made."
The sheriff says an intersection was turned into a 4-way stop, and ever since, they haven't had any problems.
"People are using it now," Reece said. "They avoided it when it was first opened and it's passed our big test. We were looking down the road after February. The big test would be Saturdays when people were going to Athens for the football games and we've had several of those in Athens, so things have gone well on those busy days."
Following the fatal accidents, Georgia Department of Transportation crews were on site at the intersection of 44 and the bypass installing stop signs and warning signs, flags, and safety cones to alert drivers of the stop ahead.
That solution has seemed to work for nearly 9 months, but it's only temporary. That 4-way stop will be turned into a roundabout.
But even with the changes, some drivers say they're still hesitant to use the bypass. Others say the changes have helped.
"I just try to avoid it. In the beginning, I was a little nervous because of the accidents, but I just try to stay out of it if I can," Gray resident, Amber Ayers said.
"Before they put the 4-way in, I knew a lady that got hit and it totaled her car, and I thought it was a little dangerous at first, but, I mean, the speed limit is 55, so as far as safety, it's a little safer to take the bypass," Chris Dixon, from Milledgeville, said.
Reece says he's glad to see traffic increasing on the bypass and that they've finally got a solution to the intersection problem.
"We've saved lives, and that's the important thing," Reece said.
Kimberly Larson with the Georgia Department of Transportation says in about 6 months they'll start construction to turn the 4-way stop into a roundabout.
Reece says since February, there haven't been any accidents on the bypass.