Valdosta Daily Times

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January 7, 2013

New signals in place

Company hopes traffic lights improve safety

VALDOSTA — New traffic signals on Old Clyattville Road will hopefully stop motorists so that employees of the Langdale Company can cross the road safely.

The signals went operational this week, and there have already been several near misses as drivers become accustomed to them.

“We’ve had issues out there for some time, and the Langdale Company was very concerned about their employees walking across the road, and driving forklifts back and forth,” said Lowndes County Manager Joe Pritchard.

According to Pritchard, the Langdale Company paid for all the costs of the signals and the county assisted in supervising the design and installation on the county road.

“This was a great public/ private partnership,” Pritchard said.

Jim Hickman, the technical director for Langdale Forest Products, said the company has its manufacturing functions on one side of Old Clyattville Road, and the employee parking lot, along with the lumber shipping and maintenance areas, are on the opposite side.

“We estimated that there are 1,500 trips across the road every week. We have more than 200 employees walking back and forth to work, and our forklift drivers moving back and forth every day. About 20 percent of the traffic is log trucks that make that same trip from one side to the other daily, and they don’t have the ability to stop quickly,” he said.

Hickman said he could only remember one accident on the road, which happened several years ago and resulted in injuries, but said the near misses were occurring almost daily.

The speed limit on Old Clyattville Road is 30 miles per hour in that stretch, but not all drivers adhere to the speed limit.

The two cross walks are located a short distance apart at the two driveways.

Employees and vehicles trigger the signal lights located at each, which turn red for several seconds so traffic will stop and they can cross safely.

For the next few weeks, there will also be a flashing sign warning motorists of the new traffic signals.

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