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Ga. 365 intersection work awaits Tuesday approval
Gainesville City Council talks of spending $60K on turn lanes
Vehicles fill the intersection of Ga. 365 and Howard Road. A traffic signal is planned for the intersection that has been the scene of numerous accidents. - photo by Tom Reed

Gainesville officials are getting ready for a new signal at a Ga. 365 intersection that’s been the site of several recent crashes.

At a City Council work session Thursday morning, city officials discussed spending some $60,000 to pave turn lanes and realign Howard Road at Ga. 365.

The work will be one of the first visible steps toward installing a traffic signal at the intersection that drew the attention of state and local officials.

Representatives of the RaceTrac convenience store chain, which has a location at the intersection, are working with the city and the Georgia Department of Transportation on the project.

The project became a priority after an April 28 crash that resulted in the death of Anna Hermansen of Clayton.

Public outcry over the intersection took place right after the accident, including a written appeal by the Hall County Board of Commissioners that the DOT make improvements there.

In that letter, the commissioners cited 14 crashes in that area in 2012.

Gov. Nathan Deal’s Chief of Staff Chris Riley and Governor’s Office of Highway Safety Director Harris Blackwood also expressed concerns about the intersection to DOT Commissioner Keith Golden.

RaceTrac jumped quickly into the discussion.

Wrecks have continued in that area, including one on June 8 in which a passenger car and a pickup were involved and one person was trapped.

Traffic was backed up for more than a mile while the person was removed.

“This has rapidly become a priority for the area and for GDT and for RaceTrac and for the city,” said Gainesville’s Assistant Public Works Director Chris Rotalsky. “It’s something that’s garnered a lot of attention and a lot of concern for all parties.”

Rotalsky said the city plans to widen Howard Road at the intersection of Ga. 365. The money for the project comes from leftover funds for paving and patching city roadways.

The expenditure will have to be approved at Tuesday’s council meeting, but it is likely to gain the support of all five council members.

Actual work awaits the approval by Georgia’s Department of Transportation of the design of the revamped intersection. RaceTrac officials have said they believe the work should be done within a month after the plans are approved.

That approval should come in a matter of weeks, Teri Pope, a DOT spokeswoman, said.

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