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Traffic splits with ease on Ga. 53
New lanes open as project moves forward
The Georgia Department of Transportation opened the newly divided Ga. 53 in Chestnut Mountain on Thursday, allowing traffic to split.
The Georgia Department of Transportation was able to split traffic on Ga. 53 between Ga. 211 and Atlanta Highway Thursday morning with no problems, a spokesman for the DOT said.

Project managers in charge of the construction in Oakwood should have contacted Mark McKinnon, mouthpiece for the department, if there were any problems with opening the lanes Thursday morning, but McKinnon said he had heard no word from them by mid-afternoon Thursday.

"No news is good news," McKinnon said.

With the lane openings, the DOT was able to separate east and westbound traffic on the approximately four-and-a-half-mile stretch of Winder Highway, McKinnon said.

"Traffic was right together; now it’s split somewhat," McKinnon said. "That is a little bit more of a comfortable ride for drivers."

"This is certainly a move forward in this project."

Along with Thursday’s lane openings, the DOT activated two new traffic signals on Winder Highway: one at the highway’s intersection with Ga. 211 and another at its junction with Oliver and Strickland roads.

The signals had been tested for 30 days prior to Thursday’s activation, McKinnon said.

The new lanes and traffic signals are part of an $25 million project to widen Ga. 53 to a four-lane, divided highway, which McKinnon said should be complete by the end of the year, if not earlier. The project still lacks some paving and striping, and despite the lane openings, the Oakwood stretch of highway remains a work zone, McKinnon said.

"With some good weather and the contractor making good progress, we’re hoping that we can get that done a little early," McKinnon said.