By: Anna Clark
UGA student Austin Leonard got into a car crash the only time he drove on Highway 316.
“There have been other accidents through family friends and our church where I’ve known that 316 has been so dangerous,” Leonard said. “So I’ve always avoided it.”
Stop signs and red lights are the main reason for deadly crashes on Highway 316. Just ask Barrow County Sheriff Jud Smith, Oconee County Sheriff Scott Berry or Georgia Department of Transportation Commissioner Jamie Boswell.
In the past six months, the Barrow County Sheriff’s Department has worked 116 wrecks on Highway 316 and the Oconee County Sheriff’s Department has worked 80 wrecks. While Sheriff Berry says Epps Bridge Parkway is Oconee County’s most dangerous highway, Sheriff Smith says Highway 316 is Barrow County’s most dangerous road by far.
Last month, a couple was killed in a fiery crash at an Oconee County intersection with no traffic lights. On Oct. 30, two brothers were killed in another accident at an intersection on Highway 316 in Gwinnett County.
“It would take 10 years and nearly a billion dollars,” to stop the deaths and injuries that makes the highway so dangerous, Boswell said. Ramps and overpasses would help traffic merge on to the busy highway, but there was not enough money to originally build the road safely, Boswell added.
“It’s a dangerous highway,” Sheriff Smith agree. “I think the first day it opened in Barrow County, we had a fatality.”
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