After years of pleas, Forsyth County father gets results at intersection where his teen daughter was critically injured

Kimberly Bond

(FORSYTH COUNTY, GA) On August 12, 2019, Scott Ordway experienced a father’s worst nightmare. His daughter, Zoe, a teenager at West Forsyth High School, was on the way to cross country practice when she was in a terrible car accident at the intersection of Bentley and Post Road. Zoe broke her sternum, fractured her pelvis in five places, and had such a significant break in her femur that she had to have a titanium rod placed in her leg. She endured months of painful physical therapy before she was able to walk again. Her cross country career was put on hold for an entire year.

“The day after Zoe’s accident, a woman taking her kids to work was hit in the same place,” shared Scott. “And a few weeks later, another person in her class had an accident there. It’s just a road design that was never meant to handle the traffic.”

Now, almost three years to the date, Forsyth County officials have announced that a new stoplight will be going in at that intersection.

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A new traffic light will go in at the intersection of Bentley Road and Post Road by mid-September.(Photo/Michelle Hall)

“They poured the footings for that traffic signal yesterday [August 15, 2022],” confirmed County Commissioner Todd Levent. “Some time by the middle of September it should be erected.”

Levent added that the signal would be flashing for a period of time for safety, but that the company installing it has a contract that holds them to no later than the end of September for a fully functioning and inspected traffic light.

Fight for the light

Many Forsyth County residents are relieved to hear that the light is finally going in after a years-long grassroots campaign to improve safety along Post Road. Initially, because Post Road was controlled by the state of Georgia, improvements were not scheduled to begin until 2028. The Ordway family and other Forsyth County residents submitted a petition to the state with over 11,000 signatures and held town hall meetings with county, state, and law enforcement officials to urge them to expedite safety-related improvements. Zoe Ordway personally spoke at many of these events, including town hall meetings attended by Sen. Greg Dolezal, to urge officials to take action to improve road safety.

In response, the state turned control of Post Road back over to Forsyth County, which enabled local officials to move more quickly on some safety issues. Last year a traffic light was installed at the intersection of Post Road and Pittman Road, which was also a dangerous spot for drivers due to the four-way intersection and fast speeds. The Ordway family held a small celebration ceremony after that traffic light was installed, but they knew more needed to be done.

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Zoe Ordway's family campaigned for the traffic light at Post and Pittman Road.(Photo/Michelle Hall)

Some local residents had hoped for a roundabout at Bentley and Post Road instead of a light, but local officials decided a traditional traffic signal was a better fit for that intersection based on traffic studies. With a roundabout, high-speed travel on Post Road could have made it difficult for drivers to exit from Bentley Road.

Cost was also a factor. A roundabout could have cost the county approximately $1.5 million, but the new traffic signal is estimated at $125,000. Because the county plans to widen Post Road in the next few years, the traffic signal made much more financial sense.

As for Zoe, she is doing well and is now in her sophomore year at UNG Dahlonega. She is planning to study kinesiology.

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Zoe Ordway's accident was life-changing. Now she's using her experience to push for better road safety in Forsyth County.(Photo/Scott Ordway)

“After going through the experience and working with the people that helped her get better, she’s going to be a physical therapist,” Scott shared. “She just wants to help people who have been through some of the same things she went through.”

Safer road ahead

Hearing about the new traffic light brings a sense of satisfaction to the Ordway family. Their hard work and dedication in using Zoe’s experience to bring attention to road safety in Forsyth County may help another family avoid going through the same heartache.

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Making a left turn onto Post should be safer after the new light is installed.(Photo/Michelle Hall)

Responding to a recent post on social media site Next Door about the new traffic light, Scott Ordway took the opportunity to reflect on the devastating accident that has become the driving force for a safer street.

“Sometimes things do not move as fast as we want, but when a community stands together change will happen,” said Scott Ordway, Zoe’s father. “Thank you, Forsyth County, for listening and taking continued step[s] to keep us safe.”

Where would you like to see road improvements in Forsyth County? Comment below or email us at kbondwriter@gmail.com to let us know.

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I'm a writer, editor, and journalist with a background in law and science. I love writing about interesting local places and events in Forsyth County, especially new businesses or family-friendly experiences.

Cumming, GA
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