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County, state looking to improve intersection
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One of the county’s most wreck-plagued intersections could be in line for more safety upgrades.

Temporary county administrator Toss Allen said Tuesday night that the state Department of Transportation has completed a traffic engineering study at the intersection of Blue Jay and Midland roads and offered two recommendations. The DOT suggested improving the sight lines at the intersection or even turning it into a four-way stop. Currently, traffic on Midland does not have to stop at the crossing with Blue Jay while vehicles on Blue Jay must stop.

“I think we need to clean that intersection up a lot,” said Sheriff Jimmy McDuffie. “It’s been a problem since I’ve been here 26 years.”

Commissioners discussed the first reading of an ordinance to limit truck traffic on certain roads in the county, and the problematic intersection was brought up.

Allen said cars traveling from Rincon on Blue Jay Road have a difficult time seeing traffic on Midland.

“As you come out of Rincon, there are two poles to the left you cannot see around until you’re well beyond the stop bar,” he said. “The site distances are horrible.”

Allen said often drivers can’t see approaching vehicles on Midland unless their cars’ rear tires are on top of the stop line.

“That’s extremely dangerous,” he said.

McDuffie said the junction of Midland and Blue Jay has long been a site of bad and often fatal crashes.

“Most of the crashes have been coming from Rincon going across Midland,” he said. “They say, ‘I saw them stop. They stopped and looked and went right in front of me.’ And we had a couple of trucks that just blew through the stop sign.”

Allen said the county could perform some of the work the DOT recommended, such as trimming tree limbs to improve sight lines. Utility poles that may obscure vision will have to be relocated by utility companies.

There is also a large pine tree in the county’s right-of-way that may need to be removed, Allen added.

McDuffie recommended earlier this year that the commissioners adopt a no-through truck ordinance. Speed limits on Blue Jay approaching the Midland intersection were lowered two years ago, and larger, brighter stop signs were installed earlier this year.

Midland, Allen explained, originally was intended to be a state route and part of the Effingham Parkway tying into Jimmy DeLoach Parkway, but the state abandoned that idea south of Highway 30 and turned the road over to the county.