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Residents give input on DOT project
Ga. 400, 53 crossing needs traffic relief
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DAWSONVILLE — Georgia Department of Transportation officials say renovations to Dawson County’s busiest intersection could begin within the next 18 months.

State DOT representatives were at Kilough Elementary in Dawsonville last week to showcase preliminary drawings of a plan that would convert the crossing of Ga. 400 and 53 to a two-legged continuous flow intersection.

The at-grade intersection would be a first for Georgia and is designed to move left-turning vehicles out of the main flow of traffic by utilizing a series of access roads and longer left-turn lanes.

DOT unveiled the proposed changes, which is estimated to cost about $7 million and would not displace any current businesses near the intersection, to stakeholders last month.

Thursday’s meeting introduced the proposed changes to the public, who were asked to make comments.

Project manager Robert Murphy said almost all the comments he received were positive.

“They want to know when it will be finished,” he said.

Comments also focused on other nearby, problematic intersections.

“Some of the other concerns I’ve had is they want to add some additional traffic signals at Lumpkin Campground Road and also at Kilough,” Murphy said.

“We agreed we would take a look at that and if it’s warranted, we would go ahead and try to improve those intersections.”

Murphy said right of way acquisition is expected to begin with fiscal year 2011, provided funding remains in place for the project he said DOT is aggressively pursuing.

Steve Gooch, who represents the 9th District of the state Department of Transportation board, said most of the funds for the project would come from Washington, with the state paying the remaining 20 percent.

“We may only have to come up with $2 (million) or $3 million, so that would work great,” he said.

DOT has considered several options for the intersection, including an estimated $40 million flyover that would have elevated Ga. 400 traffic over Ga. 53.

Gooch said there has been a desperate need for improvements to the intersection for many years.

“Hopefully, they will come up with the money in the next two years,”  Gooch said. “It’s definitely a better alternative to the proposal of the overpass, because so many people were going to be cut off from having that traffic come in and out of their development. Everybody should be pretty open to this.”

Those who were unable to attend the open house can mail in comments on the projects by April 29 to Glenn Bowman, Georgia DOT, 600 W. Peachtree St., Atlanta, GA 30308.