Parents concerned over traffic safety around new Peach County High School

The Peach County School District is working with GDOT to control school zone traffic on Highway 49.

FORT VALLEY, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – As students enter their second week of school at Peach County High School, parents are voicing concerns about school safety.

The new school is along Georgia Highway 49 in Fort Valley, and the speed limit along that roadway is 60 miles per hour.

Assistant Superintendent of Operations Ben Maddox says he has listened to parents’ worries and wants to assure them the school district is working to keep students safe.

“Peach County Sheriff’s Office has done a really good job of having extra patrols out every morning and I think that helps as well,” Maddox explained. “Highway 49 is a state highway, so the Georgia Department of Transportation will set those speed limits.”

The Georgia Department of Transportation put up school zone signs to warn drivers and has lowed the speed limit to 50 miles per hour through the school zone.

GDOT representative Penny Brooks says traffic operations managers have conducted studies on the area and found the current speed limit to be the best option.

“It is a matter of policy to reduce the speed limit when you are in a school zone,” Brooks explained. “However, when you’re on a state route, there are reasons why you wouldn’t justify lowering it much more than 10 maybe 15 miles per hour, per location. In this case our engineers worked with people at the traffic management center, they talked to law enforcement in Peach County, they talked to the school district, to Peach County government and it was all determined by everybody that lowering it by 10 miles per hour would be the best decision.”

Although GDOT has lowered the speed limit already, the school district is hoping another traffic study will lead to another decrease.

“We’ve made two offers to options provided,” Maddox said. “One was for 35 and one was for 45.”

District 2 Commissioner Shanita Bryant says although she no longer has children of high school age, she’s concerned about speeding in front of the new high school. Bryant says Commissioners plan to work with GDOT and the school district to add more safety features to warn drivers.

“We are trying to get more flashing lights out there and just doing different things to make sure that everyone is aware of the speed limit change,” Bryant explained. “We just want to make sure that everyone keeps the safety of our children at the forefront of their minds at all times on that road.”

Until the speed limit can be re-evaluated, the school district urges drivers along Highway 49 to be vigilant and slow down in front of the school.

Categories: Education, Featured, Local News, Peach County, WMGT