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2 traffic signals on Atlanta Highway may be removed
Jesse Jewell, West End light changes would lighten traffic delay
The traffic signal at West End Avenue and Atlanta Highway may be taken down. - photo by Tom Reed

Gainesville officials may evaluate in the coming weeks whether two traffic signals on Atlanta Highway are still needed.

The two lights, situated on Atlanta Highway at its intersections with Jesse Jewell Parkway and West End Avenue, have been the source of motorist complaints for the last several months to Gainesville's Traffic Engineer Dee Taylor.

The road, once a major thoroughfare through the city, might not see the same volume of traffic it did before an extension was built to both John Morrow and Pearl Nix parkways, Taylor said.

"We've had some big road projects in the last 10 years that have helped redefine the routes people take," Taylor said.

At the Gainesville City Council's work session Thursday, Taylor will ask council members whether they want him to move forward on a study that will show whether two traffic signals on that road are still needed.

Already, Taylor said he has adjusted the timing of the lights to see if he can alleviate concerns that motorists have to wait too long at the lights even when there is no traffic coming from the other direction. Now, Taylor said he wants to make an official inquiry into whether the lights can be removed.

"There's a lot of gaps in traffic coming into town (on Jesse Jewell Parkway) thanks to the signals at Pearl.

"Essentially what we're trying to do is lower traffic delay and not make people wait as long in certain areas," Taylor said.

Taylor has done some preliminary work with the Georgia Department of Transportation. The state agency would have to approve any removal of the lights, since they are located on state routes, said spokeswoman Teri Pope.

"It's probably as intense (a process) as having one installed," Taylor said. "I think in some cases, it's maybe easier to install one than pull one out."

Removing the light would warrant a study that analyzed traffic at the intersection, Pope said.

"We have to prove it will be OK if we take it down so that it wouldn't be a liability," Pope said. "And it's not just willy-nilly, put one up here and take one down there."

Actually removing the lights, if a traffic study allows it, is far less complicated, Pope said.

"It's really half a day's labor," Pope said.

The city and the DOT worked together on the removal of a traffic signal at an intersection of Jesse Jewell Parkway and West Avenue in 2004.

If the council gives the go-ahead for this study, Pope says DOT officials will begin working with the city on the study immediately.