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Busy roads lead to more wrecks
E.E. Butler Parkway at Jesse Jewell Parkway tops accident list for 2009
Browns Bridge Road at McEver Road: 25 crashes in 2009 - photo by Tom Reed

Perhaps no big surprise here, but intersections featuring some of Hall County’s busiest traffic are also the most accident-prone.

Information compiled by the Georgia Department of Transportation, based on data from law enforcement agencies, shows the No. 1 site for crashes in 2009 as E.E. Butler Parkway at Jesse Jewell Parkway.

More than 32,000 vehicles a day pass through that intersection.

Crossings from South to North Hall and Oakwood to Gainesville are sprinkled on the list, with Ga. 53 and Ga. 11 having the most crashes.

Those state routes go by various names as they snake through Hall. Ga. 53 also is Dawsonville Highway, Mundy Mill Road and Winder Highway. Ga. 11 also goes by E.E. Butler Parkway.

“That’s all of our numbers, city and county,” said Col. Jeff Strickland, Hall County Sheriff’s Office spokesman, referring to a 2009 chart. “We turn all of our wreck (numbers) into the state.”

There were no fatalities for that year at any of the intersections on the list, Strickland said.

Between January and June, the busiest intersection for wrecks in Gainesville was Dawsonville Highway at McEver Road, which had 31, followed by John Morrow Parkway at Pearl Nix Parkway and then Browns Bridge Road at McEver Road, according to statistics compiled by Gainesville Police Officer Kevin Holbrook.

E.E. Butler at Jesse Jewell, with 14 accidents, ranked at No. 4.

“The main cause of crashes in these areas are failure to yield the right of way and following too closely,” Holbrook said.

He added that “tracking crash data is especially important to our Police Traffic Services Unit.”

“This allows (the unit) to know where they should focus their traffic enforcement patrols and what to be looking for,” Holbrook said. “This unit continuously works these areas in an effort to keep crashes from occurring.”

Strickland said the sheriff’s office bases its “deployment of the traffic enforcement unit ... on high-accident areas and areas that are experiencing fatalities.”

“Our No. 1 target ... would be Ga. 365,” he said. “... (The highway) has a speed limit of 65 mph, so people are traveling at a higher rate of speed. It is also not limited access, so we have cars crossing (the road) at intersections that aren’t controlled by (traffic lights).”

Interstate 985, which has a higher speed limit but has limited access, becomes Ga. 365 after passing Jesse Jewell Parkway.

Since 2006, 11 fatal collisions have taken place on Ga. 365, Strickland said.

Ga. 60/Thompson Bridge road, Ga. 369/Browns Bridge Road and U.S. 129/Cleveland Highway have had nine apiece since then.

Overall, 113 people have died since 2006 on Hall County roads, Strickland said.

Other statistics bear out that most fatalities have occurred on Saturday and in February and November and that they occur mostly between noon and 6 p.m.

Also, about half of those involved in fatalities weren’t wearing seat belts.