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MOCO Commission Discusses Change in Roads

A recent traffic study to set speed limits and in Montgomery County was presented to the Montgomery County Commission in a June 17 work session.

The study was conducted in early spring by a EMC Engineering Services of Statesboro, and supervised by consulting engineer Jeremy Harp and senior inspector Melvin Johnson. In a phone consultation, commissioners discussed findings and proposed speed limits on county-maintained roads, including Thompson Pond Road, Taylor Springs Road, and North Old Kibbee Road.

At the beginning of the call, Harp and Johnson explained that their recommendations for the roads are a result of the study of the geometry of the road, width of the lanes, radiuses of curvatures, surrounding environment, and on-site inspection. The pair also shared that all discrepancies are solved through the review of traffic incident reports of the area online.

Harp and Johnson suggested that Thompson Pond Road remain at a 45 mph speed limit because of the road only spanning 7.46 miles yet having 21 curves, 12 side roads branching off from the main road, and several residences. The pair shared that their recommendation was also based on the report of four major accidents on the road this year, as well as the Toombs County section of the road being set at 45 mph.

Montgomery County Sheriff Doug Maybin did not share this perspective. He felt that because the road is among the best paved roads in the county and many branching roads are set at a 55 mph speed limit, Thompson Pond Road should be set at 55 mph. Harp and Johnson were not opposed to this speed limit and agreed it could be plausible because of the road’s low traffic count and width. The road has recently been widened through the county’s first TSPLOST project to 24 feet, which is the standard state route width.

Commissioners Ginger Morris and Tim Williamson remained skeptical about the benefits of increasing the road’s speed limits and shared their concern that young drivers would continue to increase their speeds and create a dangerous situation.

Taylor Springs Road was also suggested to continue with a 45 mph speed limit, even though the road dead ends into North Old Kibbee Road. Old Kibbee Road currently has a 55 mph speed limit but has been recommended to lower to 45 mph. Harp explained that Taylor Springs Road, although recently repaved, is very narrow at 21 feet wide. It has a straighter path but more hills with limited view, and has a large amount of traffic from nearby residents, which makes it more hazardous at 55 mph.

Commissioner Chad Kenney, who is the commissioner of the area in which these roads are located, stated he agreed with the lowering of the speed limit on the section of North Old Kibbee Road between the four-way stop where the road crosses Hamilton Road and the area where Hamilton Lane branches off. Kenney explained the area has a lot of residences and curves, and that a church is not far from the intersection; thus, the decreased speed limit seems appropriate.

Harp and Johnson will continue to review the roads and make suggestions in preparation for the county adoption into law after applying for a safety grant to pay for such in April 2022. The study will provide commissioners with recommended speed limits and a list and summary of signs needed. Commissioners plan to base their execution of action on the recent Candler County sign project, where the same grant paid for all of the new signs, totaling $30,000 from Middle Georgia Signs. The new traffic laws will not go into effect until the safety grant is received.

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