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Work under way on Howard Road intersection
Signal at Ga. 365 scheduled to be ready by early November
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Traffic moves through the Ga. 365 and Howard Road intersection, where a new traffic signal is being installed. - photo by J. Bryan Stiles

Work has started on Howard Road improvements at Ga. 365 in Gainesville.

A contractor has been working to install traffic signal poles at the busy intersection, said Dee Taylor, traffic engineer for the city.

“The (poles) will need to set in concrete for a few days before wire and signals can be added,” he said.

At one time, the Georgia Department of Transportation had planned flashing yellow lights and new lane striping, but no signal at the intersection. A study had shown it did not meet any of the thresholds for installing a signal, DOT officials said.

But public interest in the intersection heightened after an April 28 crash that killed Anna Hermansen of Clayton.

In a letter from the Hall County Board of Commissioners to the DOT, commissioners cited 14 crashes in that area in 2012.

And 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 DOT Commissioner Keith Golden.

Gainesville, the DOT and RaceTrac convenience store, which sits at the intersection, are all involved in the project.

“City staff is developing improvements on Howard Road,” said Chris Rotalsky, Gainesville’s assistant public works director, at a recent Gainesville City Council meeting.

“There is some aligning for the lanes to make that signal be more efficient and be able to move the traffic a little more smoothly once it is signalized.”

The city is spending $60,000 on the project.

Cindy Erfurt, engineering project manager with RaceTrac, said she expects all of the work, including the signal and pavement striping, will be completed by early November.

The general contractor is US General and North Cherokee Electrical is the signal contractor, she added.

Hall County-based DOT spokeswoman Teri Pope has said the department’s role at this point is to make sure the work is done to DOT standards before the improvements are finished and open to the public.

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