In putting down signs advertising the upcoming roads meeting, Gainesville City Councilwoman Barbara Brooks got a firsthand look at why the meeting was needed in the first place.
With cars and trucks whizzing by as she planted signs off Athens Highway/U.S. 129 at Gaines Mill Road, “that was the (most) scared I’ve been in a long time,” she said.
The signs advertised an April 13 community meeting where residents could speak out about improvements at the intersection, which sits on an incline a couple miles east of Interstate 985.
And speak out they did, Brooks said.
The consensus was that a traffic light is needed at the intersection, but possibly other improvements, including guardrails and a longer right-turn lane for Gaines Mill motorists trying to get onto Athens Highway.
Another concern is southbound Athens Highway motorists making a U-turn at Gaines Mill Road, Brooks said.
The U-turn is legal, “but it shouldn’t be,” she said.
The signal light request has been forwarded to the Georgia Department of Transportation by the Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization, the Hall County area’s lead transportation planning agency.
Improvements to the intersection could otherwise be part of the MPO’s update to its Regional Transportation Plan, which covers all of Hall County and the western portion of Jackson County. The update will cover transportation improvement plans through 2050.
“Everything is on the table for consideration,” said Sam Baker, the MPO’s transportation planning manager.
“While we held this (April 13) meeting as part of our regional transportation plan update, with the goal to receive citizen input on broad regional traffic issues, the attendees apparently had one specific issue on their minds, and it was a request for a traffic light,” he said.
The MPO is planning additional community meetings this summer, Baker said.
Dates, times and locations haven’t been set.
The agency plans to come up with a list of projects by Sept. 30, Baker said.