WAYNESBORO, Ga. (WJBF) — Georgia Power and The Burke County Sheriff’s Office are pumping the brakes on speeders near Plant Vogtle.
“We are going to write more tickets,” said Sheriff Alfonzo Williams. “We have reduced tolerance levels, whereas a person may have only been stopped in the past if they were going 15 miles or more over the posted speed limit; we’ve cut that back to 11.”
Burke County is 835-square-miles and about four deputies patrol it. The sheriff says when you have a few thousand people leaving Plant Vogtle all at once, they can only pullover about 15 cars. So, Georgia Power is providing a $500,000 grant to the sheriff’s office. They’ll use the money to increase law enforcement presence along River Road and other roadways around the plant.
“The city police can have four persons per shift attending to 6,000 people,” explained Williams.” We certainly need more than one person attending to 11,000 at Plant Vogtle. I can tell you that you are going to see an increase in enforcement right away. We are going to be less tolerance for speeders and distracted driving.”
Sheriff Williams told NewsChannel 6 reporter, Devin Johnson, the money will not be used to expand River Road.
“If you made it a three or four-lane road, you’re going to increase speeds,” said Williams. “When people see a three-lane highway or four-lane highway, they think they can get there faster. “
The grant will cover overtime for patrol deputies and safety equipment.
“If I don’t get what I need, we are going to go further,” said Williams. “We are going to do what it takes to get the personnel out there because we believe that our neighbors and our partners have stepped up and been responsive, it’s time that we do the same.”
In 2017, 12 people were killed on River Road; deputies issued 113 citations that year. So far this year, eight people have been killed; and they’ve issued three times as many citations.
Photojournalist: Will Baker