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Ramsey traffic light on order, but improvements on hold for now
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Guillermo Alvarado, Jr., a heavy equipment operator with ERS Contractors, removes chunks of asphalt Wednesday from the side of Ramsey Road in Gainesville. - photo by Erin O. Smith

A traffic light and related road improvements on Ramsey Road at Ga. 365 could be finished by February, maybe a little past the project’s Jan. 31 deadline.

Part of the holdup is that crews are waiting still for the traffic light, poles and other equipment to arrive before they can install the signal, said Jody Woodall, Hall County road project manager.

“We knew, if there was a delay in signal equipment, I’m not going to penalize the contractor,” he said. “Signal equipment can take some time (in arriving), but they’ve made enough progress that they’re still within the terms of the contract.”

The $703,619 project calls for a new traffic light and a new acceleration lane from Ramsey going south on Ga. 365.

The new signal would be the second in a 1-mile stretch along a busy section of Ga. 365, just north of where Interstate 985 ends.

The other is at Howard Road, where wrecks have been a longtime concern, including one in July 2013 that killed three people and injured six.

Work has been well underway for several months at Ramsey Road, with the contractor, E.R. Snell Contractor of Snellville, having an initial “substantial” completion date of Dec. 31.

The road had been closed this week from Ga. 365 to White Sulphur Road so paving can be completed.

“We should be getting the signal in anytime,” Woodall said, adding that equipment was approved through the Georgia Department of Transportation and the county in November.

It “should be here by the end of the month at the latest,” he said.

Once the light is installed and operational, “it will be in flash mode for probably a week or so to alert motorists that something is changing,” Woodall said.

The DOT also will need to give its blessing to the project.

The acceleration lane could open before the light is operational, but “ideally they would (open) together because that is what the project was,” Woodall said.

Ramsey, a curvy road that extends from White Sulphur to south of Ga. 365, is a primarily industrial road, feeding into several large companies, including Kubota Manufacturing of America.

As Howard Road was getting most of the public safety attention a few years ago, including from Gov. Nathan Deal’s office, attention turned to fixing Ramsey as well.

Phil Sutton, chief administrative officer at Kubota, said in July 2013 the intersection has been fraught with wrecks, “most of (which) have been northbound traffic turning (in front of) Ga. 365 southbound traffic ... and there’s the crest of a hill there.”

At the time, Kubota, which builds tractors and heavy equipment, had almost 1,000 employees, and “we get about 80 tractor-trailer loads a day,” he said.

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