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Deadly intersection to get safer
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The busy four-way stop intersection of Flat Shoals and Covington Bypass roads has seen two fatalities already in 2013, so Georgia State Patrol officials asked Newton County to make the intersection safer.

The county is planning to install rumble strips Wednesday in front of each of the four stop signs to provide another way to notify drivers of the impending stop.

Rumple strips are strips of heated, hardened plastic which are adhered to the pavement to both create noise and cause vehicles to vibrate as they travel over the strips, notifying drivers that they have to stop.

County Engineer Tom Garrett said two sets of rumble strips will be put in front of the stop signs on the Covington Bypass Road and one set of strips will be put in front of the Flat Shoals Road signs. There about 20 individual strips per set, Garrett said.

The rumble strips will be installed by the county public works department; the county paid under $2,000 to purchase the strips from Flint Trading Incorporated, a traffic safety and pavement marking company in North Carolina.

According to GSP spokesman Gordy Wright, the intersection has seen two fatal crashes at the intersection in 2013 — one in January and one in February.

Wright said he did not see any other fatalities reported at the intersection in the past couple years; fatalities that occurred before 2010 are not computerized and were not readily available.

Garrett said the county has adequate signage to prepare drivers to stop, but one of the fatalities involved an out-of-town driver who was likely unfamiliar with the local roads.

The rumble strips simply provide another way to alert an inattentive driver to an upcoming stop.

The intersection is slated to get a traffic signal in the future.

In November, the Board of Commissioners agreed to accept federal funding for multiple projects, including the intersection of Flat Shoals and Covington Bypass roads.

The project is estimated to cost $1.1 million and the county will have to pay 20 percent of the cost, or $220,000. The project calls for a traffic signal and left turn lanes to be added in all directions. Construction is expected to start in 2016.

“(Rumble strips) are definitely an attention getter,” said Capt. Keith Crum with the Newton County Sheriff’s Office. “A number of intersections out in the county have the strips before four-way intersections.”

Garrett said three-way stops also often have the strips.