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Traffic light planned for Ga. 365 and Howard Road
Tuesday wreck that killed Clayton woman was latest at intersection
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The intersection at Howard Road and Ga. 365 is getting a traffic light after a public outcry of safety concerns about the area.

Teri Pope, spokeswoman for the Georgia Department of Transportation, said Friday that GDOT officials will be meeting with local officials early next week to move forward on the changes, which include the signal and flashing yellow beacon lights warning motorists about the upcoming intersection.

The move came after Gov. Nathan Deal’s Chief of Staff Chris Riley and Governor’s Office of Highway Safety Director Harris Blackwood expressed concerns about the intersection to GDOT Commissioner Keith Golden.

A wreck at the intersection killed a Clayton woman Tuesday.

Stephanie Mayfield, a spokeswoman for the governor’s office, said Riley contacted Golden to express Deal’s support of a signal at the intersection.

The Hall County Board of Commissioners also sent a letter Thursday asking GDOT for “immediate action” to address traffic conditions. In the letter, commissioners cited 14 crashes in that area so far in 2012.

“Georgia DOT is deeply concerned with the recent number of incidents near State Route 365 and Howard Road,” Pope said. “After consultation with local officials and the governor’s office, intersection warning devices and a traffic signal will be installed there.”

Before Friday, GDOT was planning the flashing yellow lights and new lane striping but no signal. A study of the intersection had shown it did not meet any of the thresholds for installing a signal.

Pope said earlier this week that RaceTrac, which has a gas station at the northeast corner of the intersection, had hired a traffic engineering consultant to study the intersection and suggest improvements.

Mayfield said RaceTrac agreed to pay for the signal. RaceTrac officials could not be reached for comment to confirm that.

Blackwood, who lives in Gainesville, said Friday that he had received numerous calls this week from residents concerned about the area.

“While the name of our office is highway safety, we are not involved in engineering projects,” he said. “But any time there is a place where injury or fatality is involved, we are concerned.”

Blackwood added the solution is best left to traffic engineers.

“What we do is based on data. If we see a particular corridor or particular area that is having a problem, we try to look at the root cause,” he said. “If it is speed, then we do an enforcement effort. If it can’t be determined, or someone feels that there is an engineering issue, which is where this falls, we refer that to the proper authority.”

Cpl. Kevin Holbrook, spokesman with the Gainesville Police Department, said the investigation of the Tuesday wreck is ongoing and charges have not been filed. The condition of a Clayton man injured in the wreck was unavailable Friday evening.

A previous version of this article included incorrect information about a March wreck.