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Take care at the crossroads: North Fulton's most dangerous intersections



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November 20, 2012
NORTH FULTON, Ga. – Traffic is a way of life in North Fulton, with commuters routinely spending an hour or more in their vehicles each day. Below is a list of the most dangerous intersections in the area based on the number of accidents that occurred there in 2011.

Although different intersections are dangerous for different reasons, there are some basic precautions drivers can take to avoid an accident. Primarily, they should be aware of what is going on around them. Do not follow too closely to the car in front of you, and avoid distracted driving such as listening to loud music, eating, drinking, texting and changing a GPS.

“Pay attention. Be aware of the motorists around [you],” said George Gordon, Alpharetta’s public safety spokesman.


Alpharetta

According to John Maloney, traffic engineer for the city of Alpharetta, the primary reason for accidents that occur in the following intersections is the sheer number of vehicles that cross through them each day.

“We really don’t have any dangerous intersections,” Maloney said.

While the following intersections do have the highest number of accidents in 2011, most of these were minor rear ends.

Intersection: Ga. 400 and Windward Parkway

Number of accidents in 2011: 147

Why it’s so dangerous: Ga. 400 receives a heavy flow of traffic, particularly during rush hour. This causes a high number of rear ends when traffic is backed up, but these accidents are usually minor.

What the city is doing: Neither the city nor the state have any immediate plans to change this intersection. However, the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) is working on widening Ga. 400 around McGinnis Ferry, which might help traffic in this intersection to flow more smoothly.

Intersection: Ga. 400 and Mansell Road

Number of accidents in 2011: 114

Why it’s so dangerous: Again, Ga. 400 releases a large volume of traffic into this intersection, which increases the likelihood of rear ends. Accidents in this intersection rarely result in injuries.

What the city is doing: Similar to the intersection at Ga. 400 and Windward Parkway, there are no imminent plans for reconstruction of the intersection at Ga. 400 and Mansell Road. However, construction on Ga. 400 may improve the flow of traffic at this intersection, decreasing the rate of accidents.

Other intersections to watch out for in Alpharetta: Ga. 400 and Haynes Bridge Road (66), Ga. 120 and North Point Parkway (49), Ga. 120 and Ga. 400 (40), Ga. 9 and Windward Parkway (36), Haynes Bridge Road and North Point Parkway (33), Haynes Bridge Road and North Point Drive (29), Ga. 120 and Morris Road (28), Brookside Parkway and Ga. 120 (26).

Johns Creek

Accidents at the top five most dangerous intersections accounted for 15.8 percent of all accidents in Johns Creek in 2011. No accidents at intersections were fatal, and few resulted in injuries.

Johns Creek did not want to comment for this story, but a consultant will be doing a presentation for the city council Nov. 26 on the 10 most dangerous intersections in the city.

Intersection: Medlock Bridge Road and State Bridge Road

Number of accidents in 2011: 88

Why it’s so dangerous: This intersection experienced the highest number of accidents in Johns Creek in 2011, but the city did not comment as to why.

What the city is doing: Johns Creek did not comment about amending this intersection.

Intersection: Medlock Bridge Road and Abbotts Bridge Road

Number of accidents in 2011: 66

Why it’s so dangerous: This intersection experienced the second highest number of accidents in Johns Creek in 2011, but the city did not comment as to why.

What the city is doing: Johns Creek did not comment about amending this intersection.

Other intersections to watch out for in Johns Creek: State Bridge Road and Jones Bridge Road (52), Medlock Bridge Road and Old Alabama Road (39).

Roswell

The city of Roswell has plans to address or has already addressed six of the top 10 most dangerous intersections in the area. In fact, one city project entitled the “Corridor Study” evaluated the danger along a portion of Holcomb Bridge Road and developed suggestions for short-term and long-term improvement.

Intersection: Holcomb Bridge Road and Ga. 400 Southbound

Number of accidents in 2011: 93

Why it’s so dangerous: Many rear ends occur on the southbound off ramp of Ga. 400, primarily due to congestion. The layout of the intersection requires drivers to look left over the shoulder while attempting to merge to the right. Drivers often hit each other from behind because they assume the car in front of them is about to move.

What the city is doing: This particular intersection was included in Roswell’s Corridor Study, which developed possibilities for long-term and short-term improvement along that portion of Holcomb Bridge Road. The city has already begun working on two of the other intersections included in the Corridor Study, and this one is in line to possibly receive funding from GDOT.

Intersection: Highway 9 and SR 92/Holcomb Bridge Road

Number of accidents in 2011: 77

Why it’s so dangerous: The city recently completed an improvement project on this intersection, but most accidents prior to the improvement occurred when people tried to turn left onto Highway 9. The width of the roads makes it difficult to turn there.

“This is the biggest intersection we have in the city of Roswell,” Muhammad Rauf, traffic engineer for the city, said. “It’s two state roads, and it’s like our city center.”

What the city is doing: About a year ago, the city completed an improvement project that added a raised median along Highway 9. There is not yet enough post-project data to determine how much it has helped.

“I am afraid that it would still be [on the list of most dangerous intersections next year], but it would definitely be lower than it’s ranked now,” Rauf said.

Other intersections to watch out for in Roswell: Highway 9 and Azalea Drive/Riverside Road (57), Old Alabama and Old Alabama Connector (28), SR 92 and Hardscrabble Road (60), Holcomb Bridge Road and Market Boulevard (50), Ga. 9 and Mansell Road (45), Holcomb Bridge Road and Old Alabama (50), SR 92 and Crabapple Road (47), Holcomb Bridge Road and Ga. 400 Northbound (52).

Milton

Intersections in Milton tend to be less dangerous than those in the surrounding cities because they receive much less traffic.

“What may be a bad intersection in Milton… may not compare at all to anything you see in Alpharetta or Roswell or any of the surrounding jurisdictions,” said Milton Public Works Director Carter Lucas.

However, here are some of the more dangerous intersections within the area of Milton.

Intersection: Providence Road and Highway 372

Number of accidents in 2011: 14

Why it’s so dangerous: Similarly to the intersection at Bethany Bend and Ga. 9, this intersection is skewed. The roads are also not completely connected, so there is also a slight offset. Additionally, this intersection is on a hill, adding further difficulty.

What the city is doing: The city will begin constructing a roundabout at this intersection beginning in March or April of 2013. The project is planned to last about 18 months.

Intersection: Bethany Bend and Highway 9

Number of accidents in 2011: 13

Why it’s so dangerous: The skew of the roads at this intersection tends to cause problems. Bethany Bend does not intersect with Highway 9 at a right angle, causing turns to be longer than usual.

What the city is doing: The city has applied for a grant from GDOT in order to study the intersection, and it hopes to hear back this year.

Intersection: Bethany Bend and Highway 9

Number of accidents in 2011: 13

Why it’s so dangerous: The skew of the roads at this intersection tends to cause problems. Bethany Bend does not intersect with Highway 9 at a right angle, causing turns to be longer than usual.

What the city is doing: The city has applied for a grant from GDOT in order to study the intersection, and it hopes to hear back this year.


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  1. report print email
    Accidents?
    November 21, 2012 | 07:19 AM

    This is an excellent article brining attention to what in most cases are poorly designed intersections. My one contention (this is not unique to this publication) is the common reference to car crashes/wrecks/collisions as "accidents." Most crashes, although not intentional, are very avoidable. Using the word "accident" would imply that no one is at fault and lets the culpable party off the hook. We think they just happen, they are a fact of life and we should accept them because accidents happen. People need to focus and pay attention when they are driving.

    Also, one question.. the other major interchanges have totals for the interchange whereas the 400/HBR has totals only for the south bound off ramp. Any ideas how many total crashes are at that interchange?

    Thanks for the article and be careful at these intersections.

    Michael Hadden
    Roswell
  2. report print email
    Accidents?
    November 21, 2012 | 07:19 AM

    This is an excellent article brining attention to what in most cases are poorly designed intersections. My one contention (this is not unique to this publication) is the common reference to car crashes/wrecks/collisions as "accidents." Most crashes, although not intentional, are very avoidable. Using the word "accident" would imply that no one is at fault and lets the culpable party off the hook. We think they just happen, they are a fact of life and we should accept them because accidents happen. People need to focus and pay attention when they are driving.

    Also, one question.. the other major interchanges have totals for the interchange whereas the 400/HBR has totals only for the south bound off ramp. Any ideas how many total crashes are at that interchange?

    Thanks for the article and be careful at these intersections.

    Michael Hadden
    Roswell
  3. report print email
    Who's fault?
    November 21, 2012 | 02:30 PM

    It seems to me that the crashes at these intersections are more the fault of the drivers than of the design of the intersection. Redesigning the intersections will have little effect. The crashes will continue and the number of crashes is directly related to the large number of reckless drivers. Any details on the characteristics of the drivers involved in these crashes?

    An observer
    Johns creek
  4. report print email
    Measure it differently
    November 23, 2012 | 08:42 PM

    The number of crashes at these intersections is high because these intersections handle the most cars. A more revealing figure would be the number of crashes relative to the volume of traffic at a particular junction.

    S Lee Guy
    Alpharetta
  5. report print email
    The intersections were not inherently designed wrong...
    November 25, 2012 | 04:09 PM

    ...the traffic volumes due to population and business expansion just outgrew them. Most of the roads and intersections in north Fulton were established long before the population explosion of the 80s, 90s, and 00s, and they've just been continual upgrade works in process ever sense.

    Jason
    Milton
  6. report print email
    Causes of Accidents
    November 26, 2012 | 10:54 AM

    As a safety professional, I was disappointed at the reasoning that "too many cars" are the main cause of accidents at intersections. The traffic engineer who made that statement apparently does not understand the difference between 'causation' and 'correlation.' Such reasoning would dictate that more employment causes more accidents in the workplace, or more flights cause more aircraft crashes. There is no such causal link. Intersection design can be a factor, but driving skills--and the pandemic of inattention from cellphones, are causes. Also, lax law enforcement in the ATL area seems to make stopping when the light goes red "optional." More cars is not a cause, and if that's the best we can do at finding causes, finding solutions for improvement will elude us.

    Allan Goldberg
    Alpharetta
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