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Howard Road improvements winding down

Engineer: Final details should be completed soon

POSTED: March 6, 2013 11:30 p.m.

Short-term fixes to Howard Road at Ga. 365 are winding down, as Gainesville has finished striping pavement to designate right- and left-turn lanes.

“There is some minor shoulder work cleanup, sidewalk and (Americans with Disabilities Act) concrete work at the intersection that remains to be done, but after that the work will be complete,” said city traffic engineer Dee Taylor.

Final details should be completed soon, he said.

Before the improvements, including a traffic light installed last fall, the busy intersection had been a longtime public safety concern.

An April 28 crash that killed a Clayton woman triggered a public campaign — including from Gov. Nathan Deal’s office — to fix the crossing.

Gainesville, the Georgia Department of Transportation and RaceTrac convenience store, which sits at the intersection, were involved in installing the signal in October.

The intersection also features pedestrian crossings, which, according to DOT, are a federal requirement.

The traffic light doesn’t feature a left-turn signal at any point in the intersection, because a study on the intersection showed “the need was not identified at that time,” Taylor said.

One could be added later if the need arises and is justified through future data collection, he said.

Long term, Gainesville and Hall County officials are looking at ways to improve traffic flow throughout the largely industrial area.

“We’re possibly looking at a truck route and (that) kind of thing up through the area,” Taylor has said.

As part of the endeavor, Gainesville firm Moreland Altobelli Associates has been contracted to study a possible realignment of Howard Road from Ga. 365 to White Sulphur Road.

“They’re trying to come up with some engineering options that they can get the state involved in, so they’re making some progress there,” said Phil Sutton, chief administrative officer at Kubota Manufacturing of America Corp., who has pushed for traffic solutions in the area.

Kubota, which is at 2715 Ramsey Road, builds tractors and heavy equipment, has more than 1,000 employees, and “we get about 80 tractor-trailer loads a day,” he has said.


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