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Reunion residents still hoping for Ga. 347 traffic light
Massive subdivision seeks traffic study
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Traffic passes by the entrance of Reunion Country Club, a subdivision in South Hall, as residents wait Thursday morning to turn onto Friendship Road at Grand Reunion Drive. Residents are requesting a traffic light be put at the intersection. - photo by Erin O. Smith

A new traffic light for Sterling on the Lake has scratched at an old wound for some residents at another massive South Hall subdivision, Reunion Country Club.

Last year, the Georgia Department of Transportation rejected putting up a traffic light at Friendship Road/Ga. 347 at Grand Reunion Drive, “but traffic is only going to get worse from here on out,” Reunion resident Carrie Kiger said.

The DOT has done two studies, but both were done before Northeast Georgia Medical Center Braselton opened off Ga. 347 near Old Winder Highway/Ga. 211 in April 2015.

And that has some residents saying it may be time for a new study, especially as the area around the 100-bed hospital is turning into a medical community and a 500-acre multiuse development, Atlanta River Walk, has been proposed for Ga. 211 just north of Ga. 347.

“We just had an accident a couple of weeks ago, and it definitely wasn’t the first,” Kiger said.

The Hall County Board of Commissioners voted Thursday night to sign off on a signal to be installed at the entrance to Sterling on the Lake off Spout Springs Road.

The DOT would provide a used traffic light at the entrance, but the planned Spout Springs Road widening calls for a permanent light once nearby Elizabeth Lane is rebuilt to line up with the entrance. In the meantime, a traffic light would remain up at Elizabeth.

Reunion also has an entrance off Spout Springs Road.

South Hall Commissioner Kathy Cooper said that no one from Reunion had contacted her about traffic concerns until after the Sterling matter came up this week. The board also talked about the issue at its Monday work session.

“I would have been working on it for them as hard as I did for Sterling,” she said.

Going forward, Cooper said she is willing to meet with Reunion residents about the issue and contact DOT about doing another study.

“It’s really in (the DOT’s) court,” Cooper said. “We’re going to start a process and see if we get anywhere with it.”

Mohamed Arafa, a DOT spokesman, said the agency could perform another study, even though previous studies didn’t justify a light at the Reunion intersection.

However, if the DOT decides to do another one, residents would have to wait a bit.

“Since school is out now and both traffic volumes and patterns are not typical, we (would) have to wait until the beginning of the fall,” Arafa said.

Reunion’s board of directors has issued a statement on the matter, saying that developer John Wieland Homes and Neighborhoods and the board “would love to have a traffic light installed at this intersection for the safety and convenience of the Reunion residents and the community.

“But this is a DOT decision and they have not approved a light at this time.”