PC-Georgesville keeps patrol busy

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On any given day, more than 4,000 cars travel certain parts of Plain City-Georgesville Road, making it the most heavily traveled county road in Madison County.

The twisting, turning roadway keeps the Ohio State Highway Patrol and Madison County Sheriff’s Office busy.

“We’ve been heavy on the enforcement side up there, and the engineer has made road improvements, but the violations and crashes continue,” said Lt. Kenneth E. Ward, commander of the Highway Patrol’s West Jefferson post.

“We can’t have somebody there 24 hours a day. We feel we need the public’s help on this. We’re asking for voluntary compliance—basically, we’re just asking people to obey the law.”

Plain City-Georgesville runs north and south in the northeast corner of the county. The target area lies between Route 161 in Plain City and I-70 north of West Jefferson. The speed limit for most of the road is 50 mph; some motorists blow that limit away.

“During prom night this year, we caught many juveniles speeding. We got one kid going 100 miles per hour in that area,” Ward said.

Adults speed on Plain-City Georgesville Road, too. One theory, Ward said, is that many people traveling from jobs in Columbus to homes in Plain City don’t transition to the slower speed when they come off of the highway.

Hills and Curves

Excessive speed and a winding, hilly road don’t mix.

“Because the road follows the contours of Big Darby Creek, there are hills and curves,” said Sheriff James P. Sabin. “Oftentimes, people don’t maintain their awareness of what’s ahead of them or around them. It’s not like other roads in the county that are straight and flat.”

Madison County Engineer Dave Brand said his office has improved some of the line-of-sight problems on Plain City-Georgesville Road, including the point at which it meets Price-Hilliards and Scioto & Darby Creek roads near Big Darby Baptist Church.

“Before, you had to hope nobody else was coming or listen for other cars before pulling out,” Brand said. “We have addressed the issue but you can only go so far to make it safe for the driver.”

County and township roads are inherently more dangerous, he continued, but that doesn’t mean they are a problem. Motorists must drive responsibly behind the wheel, he said.

Fatal Car Crashes

Plain City Georgesville Road has been the scene of three fatal accidents in the past year. The first occurred in August 2007 on the south end near Prairie Oaks Metro Park and I-70. The other two occurred in July 2008 on the north end, just south of Plain City. All were single occupant crashes.

“There were three things common to all three crashes: excessive speed; the drivers were all impaired; and safety belts were not used—all three drivers were ejected,” said Ward.

Marijuana was found in the system of the driver of the car involved in last year’s fatal crash. The other two crashes involved drivers with high blood alcohol levels, one of them more than four times the legal limit.

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