By Tony Gonzalez
Published: September 3, 2009
Waynesboro police are targeting the city’s most dangerous intersections through the end of the year in an effort to raise driver awareness and decrease accidents.
High on the list of danger spots are West End roads with high traffic volume, like West Main Street, Rosser Avenue, Lew Dewitt Boulevard and locations where they cross one another.
“We’re going to be telling people why we’re stopping them and what we’re trying to accomplish,” Waynesboro police Sgt. Kelly Walker said. “We’re going to try to encourage our citizens to use caution and drive carefully through these intersections.”
Police identified five intersections that accounted for a fourth of all crashes last year. Included are intersections where West Main meets Lew Dewitt, Vedette and Rosser, and where Rosser crosses Lew Dewitt and Interstate 64. In 2008, 100 of 397 total city crashes happened at those crossings, according to police.
“We’re going to try to make a concerted effort to reduce these crashes,” Walker said.
The causes of crashes most frequently include speeding, inattention, following too close and failure to yield.
Individual shift commanders have been tasked with developing crash-reduction strategies at assigned intersections. Officers on foot will use hand-held Lidar speed gauges in some areas. In others, officers will use unmarked cruisers with marked “chase cars” to pull over drivers who run red lights.
In many cases, officers observing traffic flow will be just as important as writing tickets, Walker said.
The special intersection patrols will run periodically depending on call volume. Some grant money from the Department of Motor Vehicles might be used for the project, Walker said.
City officials have identified short-term and multi-year fixes for dangerous intersections and congestion, including widening roads, changing traffic signal timing and adding signs. None of those projects is imminent, according to the city.