Help on the Way for Dangerous Intersection - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

10/22/04

Help on the Way for Dangerous Intersection

The latest of the frequent wrecks at I-95 & 21. The latest of the frequent wrecks at I-95 & 21.

The intersection at Highway 21 and I-95 in Port Wentworth has been causing problems for years. Port Wentworth police had an early morning wake up call to a scene that's all too familiar.

"At approximately 8:01 this morning, we received a call for an accident with injuries at I-95 and 21," said Sgt. Matt Libby.

A tractor-trailer swerving out of the way of a mini van crashed. Fortunately no one had serious injuries. It's been that way for years: accident after accident at this intersection.

"Apparently from April or May of last year, we've had over 60 accidents in this area," said Sgt. Libby.

They cause problems that nearby businesses deal with every day. "A lot of congestion, a lot of heavy traffic, backed up traffic, a lot of unhappy people," said Tammy Sanders, general manager at the Island Grille.

Many times employees there just avoid the intersection. "At times we will go to South Carolina to Hardeeville, turn around and come back just to get off 21."

Lucky for people like Sanders, the signs of change are obvious. The department of transportation has tried to come up with a solution and long-awaited help is on the way. It turns out the solution is traffic lights, which are up...but just not activated yet.

"It's going to help control the intersection," said Sgt. Libby. "That's the problem we have now, it's for motorists and tourists coming off the interstate."

The traffic signals will be fully functional on Tuesday and construction to widen the road and add more turn lanes should be complete in two weeks, which will also free up some traffic.

Port Wentworth police say, although these changes will help, a lot of times when traffic signals are added, the amount of accidents increase at first because everyday drivers don't realize the change. So if you travel along that road, use a lot of caution.

Reported by: Kim Angelastro, kangelastro@wtoc.com

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