More regular enforcement has helped curb excessive speeding on a road often used as a shortcut to Kia, county officials said Friday.
“We’ve got, I think, a really good resolution of the problem that is permanent,” said County Engineer James Emery at a County Commission work session.
Emery said that Adams Road is the most direct route for people going to Kia from Interstate 185, Whitesville Road and Highway 18. The route even is the first to come up if entered into an online mapping service or GPS device, he said.
“It was never intended to be a high-volume, high-speed-limit road,” Emery said. “We had the speed limit lowered five years ago (from 55 miles per hour), but 45 miles per hour is the lowest speed limit we could use at that location.”
Emery said the commission has the power to lower the speed limit, but lowering it too much from state standards will mean Georgia State Patrol will not use radar on the road because it could be considered a speed trap. The county also cannot block the road to through traffic because it is a public road.
The county could make the road a dead-end so it no longer served as a shortcut, but Emery said that would interfere with general traffic flow. The most effective and practical solution the engineering department felt best is allowing sheriff’s deputies to patrol and enforce the speed limit.
Emery said the Sheriff’s Office has agreed to patrol the road at least once a month during recorded peak hours for traffic. About 23 tickets were written to drivers on and near Adams Road in six days, which tapered off as enforcement continued, Emery said. Many of the tickets were for more than 25 mph over the limit, which means the violators get additional fines.
Traffic devices placed on the road in June and July detected 46 percent of vehicles on the road exceeding 56 mph. An evaluation of three days counted 21 vehicles going more than 81 mph and two going up to 93 mph. After deputies began patrolling, the rate of speeding dropped to about 11 percent, Emery said.
“We’ve found that enforcement of the limit fixes the problem, but the problem now is how much enforcement has to be done to fix this on a permanent basis,” Emery said.
Commissioner Ken Smith responded: “I don’t understand why we have any law, rule, regulation – anything that we can’t enforce on a permanent basis. But if that’s the case, we need to shut that sucker down or either be able to enforce the ordinance that we got.”
“I think we’ve got the solution on a permanent basis,” Emery said.
Adams Road resident Hunter B. Searcy, who originally brought concerns of the speeding to previous county commission meetings, said that although deputies’ presence has helped, speeding persists when deputies aren’t present.
“If the police car’s sitting up there, like during shift change just now, (commuters) are driving like people normally would, but at other times they’re not,” Searcy said Friday afternoon. “Yesterday when I was out in my yard a guy came around the corner real fast and his tires were squealing.”
Searcy wasn’t present at Friday’s work session because he was not notified that the issue was going to be discussed, he said.
“This has to be addressed, and not just a token amount, but generally,” Searcy said. “It’s just something we need to get resolved; it’s ridiculous really, since we paid taxes for 40 years. … We’re not asking for anything not that is not legally our right.”