Rain brings accidents on J.R. Allen Parkway - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Rain brings accidents on J.R. Allen Parkway

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An accident on JR Allen Parkway in Columbus Monday. (Source: Suzanne Bratton) An accident on JR Allen Parkway in Columbus Monday. (Source: Suzanne Bratton)

Some call it a traffic nightmare - to others, it's a deathtrap. J.R. Allen Parkway or Highway 80 is one of the busiest traveled roads in our area.

"It ranges, on each end of it, from east about 20,000 vehicles a day to west of I-185 around 53,000 to 54,000 thousand [vehicles per day]," said Ron Hamlett, Columbus Traffic Engineering manager.

That's not including the cross over the river into Phenix City which sees about 40,000 vehicles travel the highway each day. Hamlett said Monday's accidents were most likely brought on by the downpour.

"Drivers haven't had to deal with wet surfaces at all," Hamlett said. "So when we do have an entire day of rain, you generally will see accidents a little heavier on those days."

There were 247 accidents on J.R. Allen Parkway in 2010, and last year there were 251 accidents on the highway.

About a week ago, Jimmy Shingles lost his life after his vintage Corvette ran off JR Allen Parkway and struck a tree. The cause of that accident is still unknown.

Hamlet said speed is a common cause of traffic accidents on Highway 80, but lately driver distractions are more to blame.

"Wether it's a cell phone or cup of coffee, Coke and things like that... in today's world people are getting more and more distracted," Hamlett said.

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