Tuesday night, representatives from the Georgia Department of Transportation presented the Jones County Board of Commissioners with a plan to improve the deadly Gray Bypass.
"It takes lives for DOT to get off their butt and do anything," says Jones County Commissioner, Tommy Robinson.
The Gray Bypass opened in December to alleviate traffic-flow through downtown Gray, an area where many tractor trailers pass through every day.
After 5 wrecks and 3 fatalities in less than 6 months, Jones County Sheriff, Butch Reece, implemented a 4-way stop in February and asked GDOT to do something.
Tuesday night, GDOT representatives presented the Jones County Board of Commissioners with what they call "the best option," explaining that roundabouts have proven safety benefits nationwide.
"Everybody navigates in a single direction around the circle. If you're approaching, you yield. Everyone is at a slower speed, so there's less severity," says GDOT representative, Tyler Peake.
The commissioners also discussed the lack of lighting on the bypass. GDOT says they will install temporary lighting at the roundabout, but the county will need to pay the energy bill for "full scale lighting."
"Three people have died, and to make it better, you want us to pay the lighting bill on something that y'all screwed up? I'm talking about DOT in general," says Robinson.
Sheriff Reece agrees that the state should pay the electricity bill, but says the county will do what it needs to do to keep its citizens safe.
"This is a state issue. It's a state road, but in the long run, safety is the issue. Somebody has to pay to save lives. If we have to pay, we should pay," says Reece.
GDOT now awaits final approval from the Jones County commissioners before they can start construction on the roundabout, but they say it will take about 3 months to complete the project.
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