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Dangerous intersection at Oak Hill/212 gets traffic light

Joey Amerson with Moye Electric working on cutting the road to install the loop for the traffic signal at the intersection of Hwy 212 and Oak Hill, he is on Hwy 212

Joey Amerson with Moye Electric working on cutting the road to install the loop for the traffic signal at the intersection of Hwy 212 and Oak Hill, he is on Hwy 212

COVINGTON -- Work is under way to make one of the most dangerous intersections in the county more safe.

A traffic signal is being installed at Oak Hill Road and Ga. Highway 212. Work began Jan. 31 and will continue for the next few months, with the light expected to be activated in May.

A total of 74 collisions were reported either near or at the intersection from 2005 to 2009, according to Georgia Department of Transportation Spokeswoman Cissy McNure. Of those, 49 were accidents that potentially could have been avoided with a traffic signal in place, McNure said.

The Rev. Ronny Brannen of Prospect United Methodist Church, located at the corner of Oak Hill and Ga. 212, said he's witnessed the aftermath of many accidents, some fatalities. Brannen's sermons have been interrupted by screeching of tires and crashing cars. A group of men from the church is so used to those sounds they've become a kind of self-appointed response team.

The sharp curve coupled with limited visibility and speeding motorists make the intersection, "Always a disaster waiting to happen," he said.

Brannen hopes the traffic light will improve things, once motorists get used to it.

"First, people have got to realize there's a traffic light there. Folks are just so used to shooting down through there," he said.

The traffic light is being funded through stimulus dollars at an estimated cost of $106,548. The signal will be put into flash mode on May 9 and is expected to be activated by mid- to late-May.