In the 10 plus years I have lived here this intersection has been the scene of dozens of accidents and I have personally observed 30 or more incidents that almost occurred, because of the “perfect storm” of conditions that exist.
Two real issues need to be studied and rectified with some form of traffic flow control. I decided to write this letter because quite frankly, I am tired of having the wits scared out of me just to go to the grocery store, and that’s in good weather.
Factor in the amount of commercial traffic that flows through here, with a lot of it speeding, and I am truly surprised there isn’t at least one fatality a month here.
I am speaking about the offset intersection(s) of Union Grove Church Road , Morrow Road / Blackwood Church Road, Tucker Hollow Road SE and US Highway 53 (Fairmount Highway) on the east side of the county.
View Intersection in a larger map If you are headed Eastbound on Highway 53:
The limited view from Morrow Road / Blackwood Church Road, Union Grove Church Road looking east on Highway 53 especially during the school commuting hours inevitably leads to traffic that doesn’t see you coming from the east because of the sun as they turn east or west bound. Enhance this with the rise of the hill from the east bound side and the exacerbation created by a limited field of view that is hampered further by rising topography and a simple driving mistake can turn deadly in an instant. Add traffic turning West onto Highway 53 from Tucker Hollow Road and it can be terrifying to come through here in the morning. Factored into this are those folks who turn west from Tucker Hollow and then immediately (within 700-1000 feet) decide to turn south on Union Grove Church Roadand you are faced with traffic pulling out in front of you, that didn’t see you to begin with, who now are braking hard to make a left turn, only to discover that they misjudged it and must now stop. Let the fun begin.
I can’t tell you how many times I have been watching for this scenario and got stopped safely all the while watching behind me in the rear view mirror for that one person who didn’t and they had to lock up the brakes in order to stop. It’s been pretty scary here plenty of times. Today this happened once again to me and the vehicle screeching to a stop behind me was an 18 wheel tractor trailer. Glad he saw me in time. The score is Me(1) , Trucks(0) so far.
If you are headed Westbound on Highway 53:
In the morning opposing traffic is coming out of the curve into what is essentially a semi-blind intersection because you are looking almost directly at the sun , at highway speed, with 5 points of convergence to watch for, when someone hits the brakes, turns on the left signal and the next thing you know everybody is stopping suddenly in front of you. Adding unnecessary elements to this disaster in the making is the limited view from Tucker Hollow Road and as you come over the hill and it is very common to see traffic pulling right out in front of you. They didn’t see you because of the sun and the hill and then, 50 percent of the time, immediately they hit the brakes and they stop to make a left hand (South) turn onto Union Grove Church Road. You have nowhere to go even if you are not doing the 65 plus miles per hour that is common speed through this area.
Couple that with the eastbound traffic from Union Grove Church Road and once again it is a recipe for disaster. Turn out the lights and do all of these things at night, add a deer or two and a racing teenager and let it rain and you are a marker on the side of the highway at this intersection.
My Suggestions: 1. Study the traffic here. See if it warrants a caution light and some signage warning about how high the danger is.
2. Ban left turns at Union Grove Church Road during high car counts when traveling Westbound, especially if coming from Tucker Hollow Road (like during morning drive times).
3. Ban left turns at Tucker Hollow Road during high car counts when traveling Eastbound, especially if coming from Union Grove Church Road (like during evening drive times).
4. Add a turn lane at the middle between the two roads.
5. To Tucker Hollow Road and Union Grove Church Road add corresponding “No Left Turns allowed” signs when traveling from either of these roads.
6. Add lanes ,fix the roads or lower the speed limit.
Doing any one of these would be better than doing nothing at all.
MICHAEL E. JORDAN Sr. Calhoun