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Rapid growth brings traffic woes to Dawsonville Highway
DOT planning some work to help relieve congestion
1030traffic1
Traffic crowds Ga. 53/Dawsonville Highway on Thursday afternoon near the new North Lake Square shopping center. The latest data from the Georgia Department of Transportation shows an increase of vehicles daily along the busy commercial corridor since 2010.

Vehicle counts on Dawsonville Highway

at McEver Road

2010: 18,860

2014: 20,900

At Shallowford Road

2010: 25,190

2014: 25,500

Jamie Hudson knows the effects Ga. 53/Dawsonville Highway traffic is having on her florist shop.

“Any deliveries getting in that traffic delays our delivery time,” said the owner of Jackson’s Flowerland off Dawsonville Highway near Washington Avenue. “We cannot get anywhere quickly anymore.”

Otherwise, more traffic equals more customers, so “there are good and bad impacts for us,” Hudson said.

The four-lane road, particularly between Pearl Nix Parkway and Ahaluna Drive, has long been a commercial hub and — perhaps surprisingly to some — traffic counts have been relatively stable over the years.

The latest data from the Georgia Department of Transportation shows an average of 25,500 vehicles daily in 2014 at the Shallowford Road intersection, compared to 25,190 in 2010.

The average number of vehicles daily on McEver Road at Dawsonville Highway was 20,900 in 2014, compared to 18,860 in 2010.

However, the area has been growing rapidly this year with the addition of a Chick-fil-A restaurant in June and development of the 200,000-square-foot North Lake Square near Ahaluna.

Also, Gainesville City Council approved a 199-lot upscale subdivision off Ahaluna Drive last November.

“You can already see there’s too much traffic,” said Lakemont Drive resident Pat Horgan, who spoke out about the subdivision and the shopping center.

“We’re seeing that rush extends another half-hour in either direction and there’s frequently traffic jams between (traffic) lights. There didn’t used to be.”

Horgan, who has lived in the area for 2 1/2 years, said he saw the same pattern of growth and government reaction in Dunwoody.

“Every time there’s a new development, there’s a new traffic study, and every time the traffic study shows that (the development) will have minimum impact,” he said. “After five or 10 years of that, the (area) was totally choked day and night, gridlocked with traffic.”

Some traffic relief could be on the way, as the DOT is looking at minor fixes at the Green Hill Circle intersection, district spokeswoman Teri Pope said.

Work, which would involve removing concrete barriers and restriping the pavement, would be aimed at improving “the efficiency of the entire intersection,” she said.

Changes would allow more vehicles “to flow through the intersection during the cycle of a traffic signal,” Pope said.

Otherwise, Gainesville, which maintains the intersections, is working “with timing to eliminate as much congestion as we can,” public works director David Dockery said.

And, Pope has said, the DOT will continue monitoring traffic counts along the road, as well as crash data, “to determine if there are any improvements that can be made to optimize traffic flow in the area.”

 

Vehicle counts on Dawsonville Highway

At McEver Road

2010: 18,860

2014: 20,900

At Shallowford Road

2010: 25,190

2014: 25,500

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