Moody participates in Road Safety Audit

VALDOSTA, Ga. --

Safety officials from Lowndes, Lanier, and Berrien Counties teamed up with Airmen from safety offices across Moody Air Force Base to conduct a Road Safety Audit June, 6-7, in Lakeland, Ga.

Officials from the Georgia Department of Transportation pick roads and intersections where accidents have happened, create a team to identify hazards that have potentially contributed to the accidents and come up with possible solutions. Since 2012, there have been 26 accidents causing 47 injuries at the intersection of State Route 122 and 125, commonly known as Walker’s Crossing, which contributed to it being chosen for this year’s audit.

“We are trying to make this intersection safer,” said Jonathan Coleman, who was hired by the GDOT to investigate the intersection. “A road safety audit is a formal safety performance examination of a roadway or intersection. We’re coming from outside the area having studied it a little bit, but we’re not familiar with the motorist, and that’s why collaborating is so important.”

On June 6th, the collaborators met at the intersection to conduct a nighttime observation of the area. They watched the flow of traffic and took notes on the tendencies of drivers, visibility, unusual driving patterns and lighting. The team drove through the intersection from each direction noting hazards, signs and safety precautions, and whether they are effective.

“There are three counties that touch at this corner which make it unique,” Coleman said.

Close to 6,000 vehicles travel on SR 125 every day, while just under 2,000 vehicles travel on SR 122. They noticed the amount of traffic flowing through the area at night on either road was almost even, but during the morning observation, there were a lot more drivers on SR 125 than 122. During the morning observation, they paid close attention to the conditions of the roads, rumble strips, ditches and road markings.

“We have military personnel that travel on roads in that area,” said Bert Stamm, 23d Wing chief of occupational safety. “There’s been accidents but fortunately, there’s been no fatalities. GDOT requested that we participate in this if we could, and we took the opportunity to further community relations with them.”

At Moody, the occupational safety office is responsible for everything except flight and weapons safety. They give input on everything that has an impact on base safety, from speed limit changes to annual building inspections.

Moody’s team was involved throughout the audit and participated in the debrief, where everyone compared notes on the positives, negatives and possible solutions. This information will be compiled into a report that will be presented to GDOT officials.

“A positive thing I like about the audit collaboration was that everyone was receptive to all the ideas and appreciated the input from the base officials,” Stamm added.

Though the initial audit has been completed and possible solutions, like a four-way stop with reductions in speed, a roundabout, turning lanes, and even an overpass, have been identified, the collaborators still have a long way to go before any of them are chosen by the GDOT and can be implemented.

“It will be our job to analyze, report on the findings and present the findings in a formal response,” Coleman said. “However, now that the RSA team is involved in this, we will keep them involved by updating everyone each step of the way. It may take several months but we’re here to make things happen."