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Roundabout suggested at Martin and JM Turk roads in South Hall
01252018 MARTIN
A car waits to turn right onto Martin Road from JM Turk Road in Flowery Branch in August 2016. - photo by Erin O. Smith

Construction of a roundabout at Martin and JM Turk roads in South Hall is suggested in a just-completed Martin Road transportation study.

The road fix “would be effective in solving the geometric problems at this intersection, as well as improving the overall safety,” states a report submitted to Hall County Tuesday by Newnan-based Wilburn Engineering.

“The roundabout may also be beneficial in providing some traffic-calming effects,” according to the study, which adds that the improvement would “force drivers on all approaches to decrease their speed, and may also deter trucks from using Martin Road as a cut-through route.”

The Hall County Board of Commissioners voted in August to do the study, responding to residents’ concerns about traffic, especially in the wake of a nearby Interstate 985 interchange that’s now being built.

A roundabout at Martin and JM Turk is not a new concept.

Residents initially protested the Exit 14 interchange, then widened their concerns to include a proposed road widening that was later ditched.

Residents and officials eventually settled on an alternative to the widening that would include the roundabout on Martin at JM Turk Road and stop signs along Martin.

Wilburn’s report doesn’t mention stop signs, but it suggests dropping the speed limit from 45 mph to 40 mph from east of JM Turk Road to Winder Highway/Ga. 53 and from 45 mph to 35 mph from Falcon Parkway/Ga. 13 to east of JM Turk.

Martin Road public meeting

What: Discussion of recommended improvements on the South Hall road

When: 5:30 p.m. Feb. 13

Where: Mulberry Creek Community Center, 4491 JM Turk Road

Also recommended are improvements to entrances to the Hall County Schools’ Martin Technology Academy of Math and Science, including a realignment of the driveway closer to JM Turk and next to 12Stone Church.

Overall, the report says that Martin Road “is experiencing crash rates that are not unusual for average conditions on (similar) roads.”

However, “sight distance issues are present” in several places along the road.

All intersections on the road are currently operating at “acceptable levels of service,” except the Martin Technology Academy driveway closer to the Hall County fire station at the corner of Martin and Ga. 13.

That driveway has been graded an “F” at morning peak times, the report states.

A public meeting on the traffic study’s findings has been set for 5:30 p.m. Feb. 13 at Mulberry Creek Community Center, 4491 JM Turk Road.

Meanwhile, work began in the fall on the $34 million diamond interchange connecting Martin Road at Falcon Parkway/Ga. 13 on the east side of I-985 to H.F. Reed Industrial Parkway at Thurmon Tanner Parkway on the west side.

The Exit 14 project includes the widening of Martin Road from two to four lanes with a raised 20-foot median from Falcon Parkway to the school.

The project, awarded to G.P.’s Enterprises, will be completed in the fall of 2019, Georgia Department of Transportation spokeswoman Katie Strickland said.

Wilburn also studied traffic conditions on Sloan Mill Road, which runs from Winder Highway at Martin to Poplar Springs Road/Ga. 332.

Like Martin, Sloan Mill doesn’t have unusual crash rates. It also has “acceptable operation at all intersections,” the report states.

“While the magnitude of cut-through traffic is significant, it is not causing a decline in conditions,” according to the report. “Therefore, there is no apparent need for the implementation of traffic- calming measures.”

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