Waynesville resident Jesse Mobley said that he had long believed there needed to be a red light at the intersection next to Waynesville Primary School but it wasn’t until the first week of school that the cause really took a front row in his priorities.
That’s because in addition to almost getting hit himself more than once while trying to drive across to drop off his child, he was unfortunate enough to watch helplessly from the nearby gas station this week as a fell parent’s pickup truck was nearly destroyed by a semi-truck and was knocked across four lanes of traffic he said. The driver came out with relatively minor injuries as he understood it but Mobley said he knew that if something wasn’t done to remedy the cause, the next driver may not be so lucky.
Since then, Mobley has taken a bottom-up approach along with several members of the community to build support through social media for a traffic light at what many are calling one of the most perilous intersections in the county.
On Saturday, Mobley started a social media group detailing the cause. With the help of several Waynesville residents that group has surpassed 2,000 following with numerous people commenting in agreement that something must be done.
“This is something that is really needed! Both my boys went to this school and I know personally how dangerous this intersection is,” Lajuan Stoddard said on Facebook to the Enterprise on Tuesday.
And many more have commented directly to Mobley’s page simply called Traffic Light for Waynesville Primary.
“I live off of Browntown Road and it’s hard for me to get out at times. So I’m all for a red light going up there,” group member Nikki O’Neal said.
And parents aren’t the only ones with concern.
“I am one of those bus drivers that have to cross right there with a loaded bus,” Jean Williams said. “This will help very much to get us across safely.”
The comments have continued to flow in since Saturday and as they do, Mobley’s plan is beginning to take shape.
For him and many that have joined in support, the first goal is community awareness, then comes some of the more official means of making the process grow.
Mobley told the Enterprise this week that he hopes to grow a strong community base for the project so when the time to sign petitions and other items comes up, he can rest assured that the community will take part.
“So far it’s been a pretty good turnout,” he said. We’re getting a ton of people and the activity has been amazing.”
From there, Mobley said he plans to take his actions forward to local county and state officials to see what else can be done.
Mobley said that he has already made an open records request to the Georgia Department of Transportation to get any traffic studies or statistics available for the stretch of road.
This isn’t the first attempt to get a light at the intersection with the county commission first attempting the move after successfully getting a light in Atkinson according to former county commission chair Ron Ham.
“We went down this road when I was Chairman. Went all the way to the Capital,” he said. “Mike Edgy and I met with the Department of Transportation Commissioner who reports directly for the Governor.”
Ham said that it was a major priority but the problem was that the commission could never get the necessary traffic counts to get the GDOT to agree to the item.
Mobley said he hopes starting with the community first may be enough to make it go through this go-around.
Despite many of the people involved being residents of Waynesville or surrounding communities, Mobley said that he doesn’t see the lack of a traffic light on the major area highway as merely a community problem.
Since the road is the main connector between several communities further west and Brunswick, the possibility of an accident is a concern for anyone that passes that way.
Despite a growing opinion in the area that a light is needed at the intersection, Mobley said that he didn’t expect a change overnight and that the right reports and paperwork would need to be filed before anything could happen.
“This is kind of a slow process; we can’t rush it,” he said. “We can’t have a mob mentality.”
In the meantime drivers on the road can help by remembering that cars planning to turn off of either Old Waynesville or Browntown roads should yield to traffic coming directly across in either direction.
For more information, visit www.facebook.com/groups/wpstrafficlight/.
The group currently has a goal of 3,000 members by Friday. But as the group has grown the goal has had to be revised several times.