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Rockdale seeks GDOT help with 15 road projects

CONYERS -- Rockdale County has sent a list of needed road improvements to the Georgia Department of Transportation, including projects involving portions of McDaniel Mill Road that have proved to be treacherous in the past.

McDaniel Mill Road at Adrian Circle and Smyrna Road at McDaniel Mill Road are two locations that the county included on its list of requested road improvements. In February, a man was killed when the car in which he was a passenger ran off McDaniel Mill at Adrian Circle.

A Rockdale County sheriff's deputy was injured in the same vicinity in May 2009 when the patrol car he was driving crashed into a residence at 1020 McDaniel Mill Road, rendering the house uninhabitable. The resident said at the time that was the third time a vehicle had struck the house in six years. And in March 2010 two teenagers -- a brother and sister -- lost their lives when their vehicle went out of control on a hill and curve near Smyrna Road and crossed into the path of an oncoming vehicle.

Brandy Parker, whose house was the one the Sheriff's Office patrol car crashed into and is near where the most recent fatality occurred, told the Rockdale County Board of Commissioners Tuesday she has complained about the road over the years and had not gotten any response from the county.

"This is a residential street with families with children. This is a very time sensitive matter and every day you wait some day my family could die," she said. "We have had three cars impact our house and one of them was a Rockdale County Sheriff's car. We just had a recent wreck last Saturday where a young man was killed in our yard. We don't know what more it's going to take for somebody to help us."

Parker requested the county grade a section of the road, install guard rails on both sides of the road and reduce the speed limit.

In the wake of the February fatality, Rockdale County issued the following statement: "While we regret any loss of life here in Rockdale County, we work diligently daily to ensure all of our roads are safe and drivable. We strive to protect our citizens by strategically reinforcing our roads and dedicating as many resources to them as possible."

The statement went on to say that, based on an in-depth review, the county had identified several locations where improvements were needed and was working with the GDOT to "assess and carefully develop a comprehensive plan to appropriately address them."

The two sections involving McDaniel Mill Road are among 15 on the list sent to GDOT.

Rockdale County Department of Transportation Director Miguel Valentin said in an email response to questions that preliminary findings point to excessive speeding as a factor in problems on McDaniel Mill Road. "No other obvious deficiencies (were) noted when the road is driven at the posted speed limit," Valentin stated.

Valentin added that the county's assessment of possible improvements to the road is ongoing, "and we will have a more comprehensive proposal for specific improvements once the assessment is completed."

Valentin said that the list of requested road improvements was not prioritized by the county, but that GDOT may assign priority based on its assessment. He noted that some state funding for the projects is likely based on prior discussions with GDOT; however, it will be up to GDOT to determine which improvements it will fund.

Some county SPLOST funds earmarked for other safety improvements may be directed toward these projects, Valentin said, once it is known which projects GDOT will fund.

News Editor Jay Jones contributed to this report.

Info box:

Following is a list of requested road improvements Rockdale County sent to the Georgia Department of Transportation:

-- McDaniel Mill Road at Adrian Circle

-- Flat Shoals west of Smyrna Road

-- Flat Shoals east of Flat Shoals Elementary School

-- Tucker Mill Road at Honey Creek Road

-- Tucker Mill Road west of Ga. Highway 212

-- Smyrna Road at McDaniel Mill Road

-- Old Salem Road at Salem Lake

-- Union Church Road north of Ga. Highway 138

-- Ebenezer Road near Post Oak Road

-- Costley Mill Road

-- Rockbridge Road between Farmer Road and Lake Road

-- Irwin Bridge Road south of Farmer Road

-- Williams Road at Klondike Road

-- Old Covington Road near Shady Grove Baptist Church-- Rockbridge Road at Lake Capri