23rd Safety office petitions for road sign change

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Whitney Gillespie

In the city of Valdosta, just outside the gates of Moody Air Force Base, a seemingly innocuous road sign became the focal point of a fervent campaign led by an Air Force civilian, Jason Hughes.

Over the last two years the unassuming intersection at the heart of the controversy has witnessed nearly 50 accidents, 26 injuries and two fatalities – a series of the accidents involving Airmen stationed at Moody, prompting Hughes to take matters into his own hands.

“We’ve had two Moody Airmen mishaps,” said Hughes, 23rd Wing SE safety and occupational health manager. “After that, I was driving home one day just thinking about how that intersection is notorious for accidents and decided to google Georgia Department of Transportation and see what the process is to initiate a potential change.”

With his newfound information and dedication, Hughes along with the 23rd Wing Safety (SE) office successfully worked with the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) gaining approval on November 8, 2023, for improved road signage on Forrest Street Ext. and Bemiss Road.

With a northbound, southbound, and westbound approach, the intersection in question stays quite busy with 2,355 vehicles passing through between the hours of 7:00 A.M. and 8:00 P.M

“This is my second time here at Moody,” said Maj. Daniel Hahn, 23rd Wing SE chief of safety. “Even before, that intersection was notorious for visibility issues; I’m glad we were able to get enough momentum to actually make the change.”

The intersection, previously a left turn on yellow, has now been made a double red arrow, making drivers wait for vehicles to be stopped before turning.

The change has also brought a sense of comfort to spouses and residents of the general area. A local military spouse, Hannah Sing, who uses the intersection on a daily basis expressed her thoughts on the change.

“I just remember always trying to turn left on the yield yellow arrow and was more often than not scared,” Sing said. “You didn’t know if someone was flying up over that hill or not, you just kind of took a chance and went hoping no one was speeding down Bemiss, which was even worse with kids in the car. Now with the new change, I know no one is coming because everyone is stopped to give the turn time to get across.”

With a mission to protect people and assets, the 23rd Wing SE takes pride in helping both the on and off-base communities.

“Anytime we can do our mission, not just for the Moody Airmen but for our local community as well, is a big win,” Hahn said. “We have an outstanding team that’s willing to make great relationships with the community and anything we can do to help strengthen the base's relationship with the community is a win.”