Officials To Examine Deadly Stretch Of I-516 - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

Officials To Examine Deadly Stretch Of I-516

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SAVANNAH, GA -

Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police have reached out to city engineers and the Georgia Department of Transportation for research into an area of Lynes Parkway where five people have died in the past 14 months.

 

Police Chief Willie Lovett assigned members of his department to look into the stretch of Interstate 516 between Veterans Parkway and the Montgomery Street intersection where the interstate also known as Lynes Parkway becomes Derenne Avenue.

 

Capt. Philip Reilley, commander of the West Chatham Precinct who was on scene at a Feb. 22 crash that killed a Brooklet couple and injured their 3-year-old daughter and two others, began researching accident reports from the area and reaching out to state and city officials.

 

The crash brought the number of people who died in crashes along the highway in the past 14 months to five. SCMPD worked 129 crashes in the area between Veterans Parkway and Montgomery Street from Jan. 2011 until November 2012. Crashes in the area between Ogeechee Road and Montgomery Street soared into the hundreds.

 

City of Savannah Traffic Engineer Director Michael J. Weiner on Monday contacted a Georgia DOT Traffic Safety Engineer, recommending the department investigate to determine if safety issues need to be addressed. GDOT officials responded that an audit already is underway.

 

Capt. Reilley said his officers suspect that a curve in the highway just east of the Veterans Parkway overpass proves problematic for eastbound drivers who may be exceeding the speed limit.

 

"Many are not expecting to find traffic backed up from the Montgomery Street intersection just past the curve," he said. "If they are traveling fast, they may not have time to stop and their only escape is the median. That's a curb that can catapult them into the oncoming lane."

 

The lack of roadway shoulder combined with usual high traffic flows makes enforcement of speed limits in the area difficult.

 

Noel Perkins of the Metropolitan Planning Commission said the distance between the merged I-516 and Veterans Parkway to the Liberty Parkway overpass is approximately 990 feet. At 65 miles per hour, a vehicle would travel that in about 10 seconds.

 

Reilley is hopeful the DOT investigation will illustrate the need for a catch fence or cable in the median and lighted warning signs going into the curve.

 

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