Olive Road reopens with new warning signs, flashing lights

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Less than seven weeks after this accident claims a life, Augusta authorities reopen the Olive Road underpass.

Is it an invitation to another tragedy?

For decades, the low railroad bridge at Olive Road has been a dangerous place, with accident after accident happening as trucks try to pass through.

But just a few weeks ago, the most recent of those accidents claimed a life.

Officers say Pamela Brown, driving a rented U-Haul, struck the bridge and dislodged a beam.

Isaiah Lewis was killed when the beam fell and crushed his car.

Pamela Brown is awaiting trial for vehicular homicide.

Meanwhile, Augusta officials have debated what to do about the underpass on Olive Road near Essie McIntyre road, behind Pendleton King Park.

Engineering Department officials favored shutting that part of the road down for good, but Commissioner Marion Williams and others wanted it open.

Today, they get their wish.

The underpass is open to traffic as of this morning, but with some changes.

Quite a lot has been done; specifically, $1500 worth of changes. Those changes include new warning devices added to both entrances.

In addition to these, drivers can expect to see more colorful signs and new blinking lights.

The beam has been fully repaired and re-painted a bright orange.

Also, a truck sign with an arrow directing truckers to take an alternate route has been added.

Officials we spoke with are confident these extra warnings will be hard to miss.

"Stop signs, extra sets of lights, rumble strips and enlarged signage," says Mike Edwards, operations manager for the traffic department.

We want to warn drivers that the fine for not stopping at a stop sign at a railroad crossing is $400.

Engineers have called for the closing of Olive Road, but there are no chances of that happening that we know of.

The city is giving this a try, and is confident these new warnings will be effective.