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Gainesville's Airport Parkway to become one-way loop to ease traffic jams
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Gainesville officials are poised to make changes to the traffic flow along Airport Parkway to alleviate congestion around the industrial park after businesses, including Mansfield Oil, brought the issue to the city’s attention.

“The problem is that at certain times of the day, particularly in the evening, traffic backs up trying to leave the industrial park,” Public Works Director David Dockery said. “There has also been a problem with truck traffic traveling through the industrial park, which is not associated with any of the existing industry.”

The sliver of West Ridge Road jutting off Queen City Parkway and into the industrial park along Airport Parkway can get jammed, and it’s also been costly to maintain given existing traffic patterns.

Chris Rotalsky, assistant public works director, said the changes will include making Airport Parkway a two-lane, one-way loop to keep traffic flowing in and out at all times.

The concrete median at the intersection of West Ridge and Airport will remain, while new striping is needed to direct traffic.

Additional signage is likely, as well, including “Keep Moving” and “Right Lane Must Turn Right” markers.

Rotalsky said small alterations to the curb line and additional paving to produce dedicated turn lanes are necessary.

City Manager Bryan Lackey said the businesses in the park have now vetted and approved of the recommended changes.

“People that use those roads probably know better than most of us,” Councilman George Wangemann said.

Lackey said that a formal sign off on the changes will likely be presented to City Council in the coming weeks.

“We anticipate the project will cost less than $40,000,” Dockery said.

Rotalsky said the city has already addressed the heavy volume of through-traffic along Airport Parkway.

The road has been used for truck driver training, it seems, and also as a turnaround spot for those looking to access nearby Interstate 985, city officials said.

The big rigs often pinch the sharp corners of Airport Parkway, and new signage is in place prohibiting such traffic.

“They are catching the curb, which isn’t good for our infrastructure,” Rotalsky said, adding that repairs have already been made.

Meanwhile, Mayor Danny Dunagan said proposals to alleviate traffic along West Ridge Road on the other side of Queen City Parkway (opposite the industrial park) have proved fruitless.

For example, Dunagan said adding a new entry and exit off Queen City to the gas station and convenience store located at that intersection cannot be done because that property is federally owned and cost-prohibitive.

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