The news of the latest wreck at Midland and Blue Jay roads was alarming to say the least, and we’re glad it wasn’t any worse than it was. A school bus with no passengers was headed to South Effingham High School along Midland when the driver of a pickup truck traveling on Blue Jay reportedly smacked into it. A child passenger in the truck was hurt but did not incur life-threatening injuries.
Since the school bus was empty, what could have been a much more frightening result was averted. But the question remains — what can be done to make one of the county’s busiest intersections safer?
It’s been a problem for years. As Sheriff Jimmy McDuffie said recently, it’s been a problem since he came to the county more than 25 years ago. He told county commissioners last month that many times, drivers of vehicles on Midland tell deputies that they saw a vehicle traveling on Blue Jay stop at the intersection, but that driver then lurched out in front of them.
Traffic on Midland does not stop, though it has to slow down. Vehicles on Blue Jay must stop at the intersection before proceeding across Midland. Larger, brighter stop signs have been placed at the intersection as part of safety improvements, but it is unlikely a traffic signal will be placed there anytime soon. Signals are expensive, and since the two roads are county-maintained, any traffic signal to be placed there would be at the county’s behest, though the state has recommended work around the intersection to give drivers a better view of oncoming traffic.
It still may not be enough.
“It’s a bad intersection,” said Effingham County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Detective David Ehsanipoor. “I would say one of the worst ones in Effingham County.”
Commissioners earlier this year vowed to do what is necessary to make the intersection safer. They’ve adjusted speed limits, made the stop signs more visible and are undertaking making the sight lines better for drivers. Short of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars, there isn’t much else that can be done for now, other than a plea for patience behind the wheel and caution.