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$14 million in improvements, including bridge, planned at this busy Ga. 365 intersection
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Morning traffic moves through the Lanier Tech Drive and Ga. 365 intersection Friday, Feb. 26, 2021. - photo by Scott Rogers

Howard Road/Lanier Tech Drive off Ga. 365 is poised to get a $14 million makeover.

The Georgia Department of Transportation is planning to turn the intersection into an interchange, removing the traffic signal and left-turn lanes there now and building a connector bridge that will span Ga. 365.

Under the new design, drivers will be able to go northbound and southbound unimpeded and right turns in and out of Howard Road and Lanier Tech Drive will still be allowed.

Those needing to turn left — for example, southbound drivers needing to go to Lanier Tech — will first need to turn right onto either Howard Road or Lanier Tech Drive, then travel a new section of Howard Road that includes a bridge spanning Ga. 365.

A roundabout is planned on the Lanier Tech side of the interchange at the new Howard Road and Lanier Tech Drive.

“This project is proposed to relieve congestion and to improve safety along the Ga. 365 corridor,” the DOT says of the project on its website.

A detailed map of the project can be found on the website by clicking on “Project Layout.”

GDOT is accepting online public comments on the project through Thursday, March 5.

Howard Road has been the scene of several bad wrecks through the years, including a feed truck overturning in 2018 and a fatal wreck in 2017. Wrecks earlier in the decade prompted officials to look at safety improvements, such as a signal light at what had been an unsignalized intersection.

Without the interchange, “the safety and operational issues for this location would continue to exist” and “high frequency of crashes would continue,” according to GDOT.

Public input

Public comments on the planned Ga. 365/Howard Road interchange are being accepted through Thursday, March 4, in the “We Want Your Feedback” section on the Georgia Department of Transportation’s website.

Also, GDOT says, improvements would “account for future increases in traffic volumes anticipated for the area” and “smoother traffic flow during large events at Lanier Tech,” which opened in January 2019.

Growth in the area, including the Georgia Ports Authority’s planned inland port off Ga. 365 at White Sulphur Road, is such a concern that it prompted a study of traffic between the inland port and downtown Gainesville, especially along Jesse Jewell Parkway in the New Holland area.

Fixing future road congestion in that area could cost about $300 million, according to a study presented at a Hall area transportation planning meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 17.

The study of potential traffic through 2050 suggests fixes through intersection improvements and numerous road projects, such as widening Jesse Jewell Parkway to six lanes at Interstate 985.

Regional events