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Eyes on the Road: Spring’s arrival heralds progress on road work

POSTED: April 9, 2014 12:24 a.m.

With spring’s arrival comes road work.

“Since much of our work is temperature sensitive, warmer temperatures allow resurfacing work to resume, especially when it is restricted to overnight work,” said Teri Pope, Georgia Department of Transportation district spokeswoman.

Oakwood, Flowery Branch, Clermont and Braselton have teamed up on a joint paving project this spring, with the governments accepting bids until Thursday.

Between them, they hope to take care of 3.7 miles of streets. Oakwood has the most miles, at 1.39, and the largest project — 1.15 miles of McClure Drive, which juts off Main Street in the downtown area.

There are plenty of other projects in highly traveled areas, such as Railroad Avenue and Gainesville Street in Flowery Branch and Spout Springs Road in Braselton.

Clermont wants to improve a quarter-mile stretch of King Street, which runs through downtown and between U.S. 129/Cleveland Highway and Ga. 283/Clermont Highway.

Helping to fund the projects are the cities’ shares of the DOT’s Local Maintenance and Improvement Grants. The DOT sets aside a portion of gas tax receipts to pay for the grant program, with this year’s amount at about $115 million statewide.

The state program “supplements this effort, but in order to do the work, generally the cities are using sales tax or general fund dollars,” Oakwood City Manager Stan Brown has said.

In this year’s paving effort, the contractor must complete the work by July 31, bid documents state.

Traffic signal aims to help with left turns

New traffic signals designed to improve safety and increase traffic flow, especially for left-turn movements, are coming to Jackson County and eventually throughout the state.

A new flashing yellow arrow, which started operating Tuesday, is for traffic on Ga. 124 eastbound traffic turning left onto Gum Springs Church Road.

The new lights will be at intersections with historically busy left-turn lanes.

The signal will be a vertical display of four left-turn arrows: red, meaning no left turn is allowed; yellow, meaning drivers should prepare to stop as the light is about to turn red; flashing yellow, meaning drivers may turn left but must yield to pedestrians and oncoming vehicles; and green, meaning drivers may turn left.

This is the fourth such signal in the DOT’s Northeast Georgia district. Two are in Forsyth County, and one is in Barrow County.

Federal Highway Administration studies have shown the signals help reduce crashes of left-turning vehicles by as much as 35 percent.

“We believe this will help drivers wanting to make a left turn better understand when they can do so freely, when they may proceed with their turn cautiously, and when they may not turn left,” District Engineer Bayne Smith said.

“Our primary purpose is to reduce the often-devastating angle crashes that result when a left-turning vehicle is struck by oncoming traffic.”

In addition to the DOT efforts, cities and counties throughout the state will begin to identify eligible locations for the signal and apply for appropriate permits.

Planning committee set to meet April 16

A transportation committee made up of area engineers, planners and other officials is set to hold its next meeting at 10:30 a.m. April 16.

The Technical Coordinating Committee will meet at the Hall County Government Center, 2875 Browns Bridge Road, Gainesville.

The committee is part of the structure making up Hall County’s lead transportation planning agency, the Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization.

The group typically discusses current and planned transportation projects in the area.

For more information, call the MPO at 770-297-2625.

Jeff Gill covers transportation issues for The Times. Share your thoughts, news tips and questions with him:

jgill@gainesvilletimes.com

facebook.com/jeffagill

@JeffGTimes


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