Newly constructed Gray bypass causes confusion, accidents among drivers

GRAY, Ga. -- A new intersection in Gray has proven that old habits die hard and people are paying the price.

The intersection of a newly constructed bypass and Greene Settlement Road in Jones County now has rumble strips installed reminding drivers to stop before crossing, but it's something drivers didn't have to do during constriction.

Some close calls were caught on camera.

When the Gray Bypass opened mid-December, Mayor Stephen Tingen sat at intersections counting cars.

"Just watching the traffic patterns to see how many people are taking the bypass and using it to get a sense of how it is affecting our thru-traffic," Tingen said.

Georgia Dept. of Transportation officials said they new bypass is intended to solve truck traffic problems in Gray.

"It would be more efficient to push the freight and those large trucks outside on the bypass to get it out of both Gray and the city of Clinton," said Kimberly Larson with the GDOT.

While watching those patterns, Tingen noticed drivers running through the stop sign at the Highway 129 Intersection. He caught some near collisions on a dash camera.

"It was scary," Tingen said. "It was really scary but the sheriff's department along with the contractor themselves that built the road really worked hard to address that concern to let people know that things have changed here."

Those things include flags and rumble strips to alert drivers to the new traffic pattern.

"We've upgraded the stop signs to a little bit bigger and if you see the little yellow sign it will say that cross traffic does not stop," Tingen said.

He believes drivers formed a habit of not stopping at the intersections when the bypass was still under construction.

"It's taken a lot of getting used to for some people to re-train themselves that 'Hey we have to stop' and the bypass doesn't," Tingen said.

Officers reported four accidents with serious injuries between the Greene Settlement Road and Highway 129 intersections. One driver thought the drivers had to stop in all directions. County officials want to remind people of the new traffic pattern and be extra cautious at these intersections.

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