DOT plans to fix dangerous intersection




The intersection of Georgia 97 South and the Georgia 97 Connector in Bainbridge, GA, viewing toward the south from the convenience store's parking lot
The intersection of Georgia 97 and Old Quincy Road in Bainbridge, GA (Credit: Google Earth)
The intersection of Georgia 97 and Old Quincy Road in Bainbridge, GA (Credit: Google Earth)

The Georgia Department of Transportation plans to fix what many consider to be a dangerous intersection in Bainbridge: where Georgia 97 South meets Old Quincy Road, aka the Georgia 97 Connector.

The intersection, where two roads merge into one in a ‘V’ shape, has been the site of several serious vehicle accidents over the years, including one that killed a teenage boy in June 2013 and another that killed an elderly woman in July 2010.

In April, the Georgia DOT’s Tifton office sent a letter to City of Bainbridge officials acknowledging a safety issue and proposing a fix, according to Bainbridge Mayor Edward Reynolds. The design initially proposed by the DOT was to create a traffic roundabout. A roundabout is a traffic circle that requires drivers entering the traffic circle to merge to other drivers who are already going around the circle in a clockwise direction.

The intersection of Georgia 97 South and the Georgia 97 Connector in Bainbridge, GA, viewing toward the south from the convenience store's parking lot
The intersection of Georgia 97 South and the Georgia 97 Connector in Bainbridge, GA, viewing toward the south from the convenience store’s parking lot

However, when we asked Mayor Reynolds about the idea, he implied that the roundabout idea was dismissed because it would introduce unnecessary complexity to the heavily-traveled road.

Instead, DOT engineers went back to the drawing board and proposedĀ a design that will essentially transform the intersection from a ‘V’ shape into a nearly 90-degree angle, according to Bainbridge Public Services Director Steve Winburn.

From having observed wrecks there previously, there are two major causes of accidents at the intersection:

  1. Vehicles headed southbound on Old Quincy Road / 97 Connector fail to make a complete stop at the yield sign, and run into the path of vehicles traveling southbound on Georgia 97 South (Faceville Road)
  2. Vehicles headed northbound on Georgia 97 (Faceville Road) attempt to veer left onto the Georgia 97 Connector / Old Quincy Road, misjudge the speed of vehicles coming from the opposite direction on Faceville Road and turn into their path.

The July 2010 wreck involved the second scenario; an elderly woman died of injuries received in a crash in which her husband’s car turned into the path of a southbound vehicle.

The June 2013 wreck was similar, except that the teen driver of a pickup truck attempted to pass a vehicle going northbound on GA 97 that was attempting to turn left onto Old Quincy Road. The pickup truck collided head-on with another pickup truck, and the driver of the passing truck was not wearing his seatbelt.

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A view of the intersecting roads, facing north. The Georgia 97 Connector / Old Quincy Road is on the left, and Georgia 97 South / Faceville Road is on the right.
A view of the intersecting roads, facing north. The Georgia 97 Connector / Old Quincy Road is on the left, and Georgia 97 South / Faceville Road is on the right.
A wider view of the intersection, viewing toward the south, shows the tract of land where the Georgia DOT will need to get an easement, in order to transform the 'V' shape into a nearly 90-degree stop and turn
A wider view of the intersection, viewing toward the south, shows the tract of land where the Georgia DOT will need to get an easement, in order to transform the ‘V’ shape into a nearly 90-degree stop and turn



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