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City to use high-friction paving surface to try and cut down on traffic crashes on Riverbend Drive

Monday, Mar. 13, 2023–6:55 a.m.

-David Crowder, WRGA News-

You may have noticed a new flashing sign on Riverbed Drive, warning motorists of the speed limit and how fast they are going.

City officials have been looking at slowing down traffic and improving safety in that area since late last year following more than 20 wrecks over the last couple of years, mostly in the curve. Some vehicles ended up overturning and landing in the parking lot of the shopping center or on the property of the Northwest Georgia Medical Clinic. The clinic itself was struck by a vehicle in May of 2021. There have been a couple of incidents where vehicles have ended up in the river.

The latest sign faces Second Avenue and has been collecting data for the last two weeks, which showed some surprising results, according to Rome Engineering Services Director Aaron Carroll.

“I wouldn’t have thought this, but even though the wrecks seem to happen while coming from that direction, only 1.9% of that traffic is exceeding the speed limit by 10 miles per hour or more,” he said. “However, traffic coming from the other direction from IHOP down that long straightaway, you have 7%.”

Carroll recently told the public works, traffic, and transit committee that he is eager to see the data, not that the new radar detection sign is flashing.

“Next month I can report if we see a drop in that percentage,” he said. “Because, as I said, it was only collecting data for the last two weeks and not flashing, but she’s flashing now.”

It’s been determined that a guardrail is not the answer. That may stop people from running into the medical building, but there will still be wrecks and city work crews will find themselves replacing guardrails at $65,000 a piece.

One possible solution is a new high-friction surface treatment that the Georgia Department of Transportation has been using.

“When the paving season kicks off, we will be proceeding with our high-friction surface treatment project to help make the roadway safer over there,” Carroll added.

The new high-friction surface should provide more grip, especially when it’s raining.