Posted on Feb 13, 2012
By Sara Belsole
COLUMBUS, GA - After the fatal five-car wreck at this intersection over the weekend, many residents are saying they don't think the Buena Vista Road and Floyd Road intersection is safe. But NBC 38 sat down with the city's Traffic Engineering Manager, Ron Hamlett on Wednesday, and he tells us he doesn't think the intersection is problematic, in fact, he says it doesn't even rank in the top 20 most dangerous intersections in the city.
Traffic reports show there were 29 accidents at the intersection of Buena Vista Road and Floyd Road in 2010 and 25 in 2011. The most common types of accidents were rear end collisions, and none of the accidents were fatal.
Hamlett says the intersection is "odd" because Mc Bride Drive is not in-line with Floyd Road, but he says it would take about $500,000 to move the street, not to mention putting surrounding stores out of business.
Traffic engineers calculate intersection accident rates by considering not only the number of accidents, but also how many vehicles drive through the intersection.
At the corner of Buena Vista and Floyd last year, there were 2.42 accidents per million cars. Engineers say anything over 3 accidents per million cars is a high accident rate. That makes Buena Vista and Floyd number 41 on the city's list of dangerous intersections.
So which intersections are the worst?
"There are a lot of dangerous intersections in Columbus and I think it's gotten worse the longer I've been here," driver Melissa Martin says.
Number one on the list is the intersection of Macon Road and Interstate 185.
"You kind of have to play chicken to see who is going into merge into that lane going onto 185," Martin says.
"People are going in the same lane and without a light there it's really dangerous," driver Alisa Coleman says.
It's followed by Manchester and 2nd Avenue, Veterans and the JR Allen Expressway, Manchester and I-185, and Manchester and Armour Road--all some of Columbus's busiest roads.
But both engineers and drivers say no matter how safely engineered an intersection is, it's up the drivers to be alert
"A lot of times it's the driver's fault. There is a lot of responsibility on the driver in all situations but there's a lot of responsibility on the city too to address these issues," Martin says.
Hamlett says it's important to take other factors such as weather and time of day into account when assessing traffic accidents. He also says construction and projects like right now on Moon Road can also cause problems.