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Ramsey Road signal close to fruition
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Ramsey Road intersection

A traffic light on Ramsey Road in northeast Hall County is moving closer to reality.

The Hall County Board of Commissioners appears poised to vote today to apply to the Georgia Department of Transportation for the light, which has been a longstanding public safety issue.

If OK’d, it would be a second signal in a 1-mile stretch along a busy stretch of Ga. 365, just north of where Interstate 985 ends.

“Our No. 1 goal is to make sure that we have the safest workplace for our folks,” said Phil Sutton, chief administrative officer at Kubota Manufacturing of America Co. “The county and the state’s contribution to that (project) is great because we have 1,200 employees that almost all pass through that intersection two times a day.

“We’re pleased with anything they can do to improve safety of our folks coming to and going home from work.”

Kubota, which builds tractors and heavy equipment, sits off Ramsey and White Sulphur roads, just west of Ga. 365.

“We get about 80 tractor-trailer loads a day,” Sutton has said.

Sutton has been a longtime advocate of the project, going as far as collecting car and truck traffic, as well as well as accident data, and meeting with the DOT, local government officials and the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce.

“Over the past few years, we have had several accidents, including some fatalities, at that intersection,” he said in a May 2012 interview. “Most of those have been northbound traffic turning (in front of) Ga. 365 southbound traffic ... and there’s the crest of a hill there.”

“I’m thrilled,” said Kit Dunlap, the chamber’s president and CEO. “With upgrades in that whole area, hopefully some of these accidents won’t happen again.”

Teri Pope, district spokeswoman for the DOT, said a signal study completed by Hall County has moved to DOT officials in Atlanta for review.

“I do not have a timeline on final approval,” she said.

In July, District Engineer Bayne Smith said the project didn’t have a schedule yet, but “it’s going to happen.”

“We’re working with the county on final details,” he said at the time.

The project also would feature an acceleration lane for Ramsey traffic heading south on Ga. 365.

County officials have said they aren’t sure what impact, if any, the Ramsey improvements will have on Howard Road, which is about 1 mile south of Ramsey.

“It’ll just be one more stop they’ll have to make,” Hall traffic engineer Scott Puckett has said. “But as far as traffic entering from side streets, it will give them a gap (to turn onto Ga. 365).”

Wrecks have been a longtime concern at Howard, including one on July 12 that killed three people and injured six.

On April 28, 2012, a crash that killed a Clayton woman triggered a public campaign, including a push from Gov. Nathan Deal’s office, to fix the crossing. That resulted in the installation of a traffic light and some other road improvements.

After the July 12 tragedy, area government officials, state lawmakers, emergency responders, law enforcement and others met with the DOT at its Athens Highway offices to huddle again over the troubled intersection.

The DOT is weighing several recommended improvements around Howard, including “rumble strips,” raised markings on the pavement that alert motorists to a potentially dangerous area, and signals that allow motorists to turn left only on a green arrow, or “protected left.”

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