I totally agree with Tonya Stuard that a signal light is much needed at the South Bypass/Piney Ridge Road intersection. I have lived in this area for 21 years and twice a day I have to cross over the same area in which her husband Jim was killed on March 12.

Both north and south directions are a problem at this site for crossing. For a long time we had another danger to face, grass overgrowth in the medians obscuring our view in both directions. After phone calls to the county this was taken care of immediately and continues today to be mowed on a regular basis.

In Sunday’s article (“Just a very, very dangerous intersection”) it was mentioned that bypasses are designed to eliminate the need for signal lights and to make travel more efficient around the city for travelers. True. I have never had to stop at one to avoid a very busy downtown Atlanta, but Dalton?

This area has three schools with buses crossing it, Antioch, Eastbrook Middle and Southeast High. When I get off work there are sometimes three buses trying to get across this area and rarely is it done without having to come to a complete stop in the median to wait for clearance in the northbound lanes.

Imagine trying to accomplish this with the usual traffic flow, along with plants getting off and a high school letting out. Whew!

Yes, pretty hectic. And add another danger, those who do not cross over into the median properly and get into the oncoming lane to do their left turns; most of these people never use a turn signal either.

This much-needed request is very important to me, not only for myself and family but others who live in my neighboring area. You see, Jim Stuard and his wife Tonya, daughter Ashley and son Nick have lived directly next door to me for over 10 years. They are not considered neighbors, they are family. We have been so fortunate to have been blessed with others like them in our little neighborhood.

When something as tragic as this happens the entire community is affected and a daily reminder is always with us.

If a light is approved for this crossing — and I pray that it will be — I have already decided to call it “Jim’s light” because with his death a light will shine for the safety of others.

Tonya, Ashley and Nick, you are forever in our prayers. Jim, we love and miss you very much.

Elmarie Celatka


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