By David Pendered
Captain Herb Emory’s longtime contributions to metro Atlanta commuters are to be recognized with a bridge dedicated to his honor, if a proposal pending in the Georgia Senate is approved.
Senate Resolution 40 would put Emory’s name on a flyover bridge that links Ga. 400 with I-85.
The noted WSB traffic reporter died on April 12, just 10 days after state and local officials dedicated the flyover bridge. Emory was 61 when he died of a massive heart attack after helping at the scene of a car crash.
SR 40 was introduced by a group of influential senators on Jan. 15.
SR 40 was sponsored by Sen. Mike Dugan (R-Carrollton), administration floor leader. Co-signers include Sen. Tommie Williams (R-Lyons), chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee; Sen. Jeff Mullis (R-Chickamauga), chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, which determines which bills the Senate will consider in the important waning days of the session; and Sen. Butch Miller (R-Gainesville), another administration floor leader.
The bridge that’s to be named in Emory’s honor addressed one of those seemingly senseless bottlenecks that so frustrate commuters. It was the kind of place that Emory would routinely monitor, and advise listeners as to the extent of traffic congestion in the area.
The bridge structure eliminates the need for some motorists to leave the highway system and travel on Atlanta roads. This was the only route for motorists to transfer from southbound Ga. 400 to northbound I-85, and from southbound I-85 to northbound Ga. 400.
State highway engineers anticipated the bottleneck and left room to build it at some point. At the time the stretch of Ga. 400 was approved in Atlanta, opposition to the road was so great that the decision was made to build the road without the bridge, and build it as needed.
SR 40 outlines some of Emory’s contributions to local commuters:
- WHEREAS, in 1991 Captain Herb moved to WSB Radio and Channel 2 Action News, where he initiated and helped build the traffic team system and infrastructure, including the concepts of “Red Alerts” and “Triple Team Traffic” which countless Atlanta commuters grew to rely upon for accuracy and up-to-the-minute traffic advisories; and
- WHEREAS, Captain Herb’s commitment to helping Atlanta’s drivers navigate traffic with ease is evident by his numerous awards and accolades, including at least 15 First Place Awards, including two Green Eyeshades, for news and traffic reports from the Georgia Associated Press Association, and his induction into the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame in 2008….”
In addition to his traffic reporting, Emory hosted more charity events than any other station employee, a WSB official was quoted as saying in ajc.com’s story about Emory’s life.
Emory’s civic work was evident through his volunteer efforts, according to SR 40:
- “WHEREAS, his generosity of spirit and compassion for others was also widely recognized as he hosted the annual Toys for Tots fundraiser at Fred’s Barbeque House in Lithia Springs, volunteered with the Douglas County Boys and Girls Club, was a dedicated member of the Douglas County Animal Control Advisory Board, served on the Friends of Sweetwater Creek State Park Board of Directors, and raised awareness against drinking and driving….”
The Georgia legislature is the only entity that can dedicate components of the state transportation system to honor someone. The legislature took that power in 2002, after years of the state Transportation Board of Directors controlling the honors.
The state Department of Transportation keeps a list of all road namings. The list shows that roads have been named for entertainers, such as the Alan Jackson Highway, in Coweta County, and the president of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis, for a collection of roads running east and west across Georgia.