Windy Hill Road’s ‘suicide lane’ is closing

Crashes at this stretch of Windy Hill are triple the state average. 150610 Marietta, Georgia: Vehicles que up for reassembly and repair assessment outside Ed Voyles Collision Center on Wednesday 6/10/15 afternoon. Images for use in story about rising auto insurance rates. Insurers say the massive cost of fixing cars crashed in accidents or damaged in storms has forced them to increase auto insurance premiums in Georgia. All photos taken at Ed Voyles Collision Center on Windy Hill Road in Marietta. (Chris Hunt/Special) for AJC story slugged 061415 Insurance

Crashes on this stretch of Windy Hill are triple the state average.

The center turn lane on Windy Hill Road between Cobb Parkway and Circle 75 Parkway — known as the “suicide lane” because of excessive crashes there — will close next week as crews turn the lane into a raised median.

The affected stretch of road is just to the west of I-75. Although the lane will be closed immediately, construction will take up to nine months, according to the county. The change will mean you won’t be able to make a left turn off that part of Windy Hill except at intersections with traffic lights.

“The center lane in that particular section of Windy Hill Road has been dangerous for years,” said Cobb County transportation director Jim Wilgus. “It has been called the ‘suicide lane’ because drivers can enter the center lane from either direction, causing an accident. The raised medians eliminate the suicide lane and will create a safer environment for motorists.”

A news release from the county said crash rates at the “suicide lane” have been three times the state average and injury rates are twice the state average.

“Traffic in the high-density office, residential and commercial development area has increased steadily since the 1980s population boom, resulting in heavy congestion and a high volume of crashes caused by motorists attempting to cut across middle lanes to reach the I-75 on-ramp or to make left-hand turns into businesses,” the release said.

Construction crews will be working close to traffic, and Wilgus asked for patience from drivers.

“Please drive safely and pay attention in heavy construction zones,” he said. “Taking two to three more minutes of your time to go to the (traffic)  light goes a long way in making sure all our crews and other motorists go home to their families at night. It’s dangerous out there, but this project will make the corridor much safer.”

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