Two Lanes In Stone County Prove Deadly

As two way traffic whizzes by on Highway 49 through McHenry, drivers approaching the highway from side roads seem hesitant to pull out. Workers are smoothing out the hills and making the shoulders wider for safer driving. But four accidents in five days near McDaniel's General Store seem to contradict that.

Store Owner Patti Ragsdale says, "With the people who live here, they're so used to just pulling out onto the highway and heading north or south and not looking for the southbound traffic to be in the northbound lane now so it's caused like you said a great deal of trouble."

Ragsdale's father, Jim McDaniel, says, "It's just that people are not aware we have two lane traffic in the southbound lane. It's just human nature you been pullin' up through Beaver Dam Road all your life you pull up and look south and you cross and you do not think to look north."

The Stone County Sheriff's Department says an engineer from the transportation department checked out this section of Highway 49 to determine how to make it safer. Ragsdale's nephew made a sign warning drivers to look both ways. Ragsdale says more signs would alert drivers about the two way traffic.

One driver told us, "You have to watch really close what you're doin' before you go out in the traffic it's stopped on both sides before you go out or you will get hit."

Another says, "They don't have construction signs on either part of this two lane road right here so some of these elderly people they can't even, they don't even realize that the roads have changed."

The transportation department says it may put up signs to educate people about the changes.

Meanwhile, drivers say you have to pay close attention to what's going on. The speed limit in that area is 55, but some people told us many drivers go much faster than that.