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Eyes on the Road: Ramsey Road fixes are still off in the future
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Now that work is moving forward on Howard Road improvements, officials are looking at potential fixes to another Ga. 365 intersection.

But nothing concrete so far.

“We are still working with (Hall) County to develop a plan,” said Teri Pope, Hall County-based spokeswoman for the Georgia Department of Transportation.

This spring, the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce and Kubota Manufacturing of America Co. at 2715 Ramsey Road asked the DOT to study the Ramsey Road intersection, which sits just north of Howard Road.

Phil Sutton, chief administrative officer at Kubota, said at the time, “Over the past few years, we have had several accidents, including some fatalities, at that intersection. Most of those have been northbound traffic turning (in front of) Ga. 365 southbound traffic ... and there’s the crest of a hill there.”

Kubota, which builds tractors and heavy equipment, has almost 1,000 employees, and “we get about 80 tractor-trailer loads a day,” said Sutton, who collected data regarding truck and car traffic.

“The city and county are really working closely with DOT and they’re earnestly trying to come up with a workable solution to ... route traffic in another direction other than Ramsey Road,” Sutton said in an interview last week.

“They’re moving forward, so I’m very pleased the three (entities) are working together.”

Meanwhile, work started in September on Howard Road, which has been in the public eye since an April 28 crash that killed Anna Hermansen of Clayton.

In the plans are a traffic signal at the intersection, where a RaceTrac convenience store and Georgia Mountains YMCA sit.

Chris Rotalsky, Gainesville’s assistant public works director, recently said the city is planning some “aligning for the lanes (on Ga. 365), to make that signal be more efficient and be able to move the traffic a little more smoothly once it is signalized.”

The city is spending $60,000 on the project.

Cindy Erfurt, engineering project manager with RaceTrac, has said she expects all of the work, including the signal and pavement striping, will be completed by early November.

Pope has said the DOT’s role at this point is to make sure the work is done to department standards before the improvements are open to the public.

Ramp signals planned in Buford, Forsyth County

The DOT plans to begin operating new ramp signals Wednesday on Interstate 85 entrance ramps at Ga. 20 in Buford and Ga. 400 at McFarland Road in Forsyth County.

The signals will be turned on before rush hour and operate at different times of day depending on traffic patterns.

The way they will work is every 3-5 seconds, a cycle from red to green allows one vehicle at a time to merge onto the freeway. On two-lane ramps, the left and right lanes have alternating lights, so the left lane goes while the right is stopped, and vice versa.

“We’ll monitor these new ramp meters very carefully,” DOT Traffic Engineer Scott Zehngraff said. “If traffic starts to back up on the ramp, sensors will speed up the meters to allow more vehicles to move through. If our cameras show traffic spilling out onto the surface streets, we can turn them off completely.”

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

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