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Officials tackling traffic issues

Problem intersections around Bryan County are getting makeovers

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POSTED: March 6, 2013 10:32 a.m.
Crissie Elrick/

Cars navigate the turn at Highway 144 and Mulberry Drive in Richmond Hill. A traffic light is in the works for this intersection that has been a hazard for some drivers.

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Bryan County is growing. And with an expected population of more than 38,000 by the year 2015, it is no secret that more cars will be traveling the roads here.
Traffic lights have already been installed at some troublesome intersections, and plans for lights at other crossroads are in the works. Here are the top troublesome intersections we’ve identified in the county.

Timber Trail at Hwy. 144
Traffic on Highway 144 has been a concern for years. One particular intersection on Highway 144 at Timber Trail Road is a concern for city officials in Richmond Hill.
“On a scale of one to 10, with 10 being terrible and one being nothing, I’d say it’s a seven,” said Richmond Hill City Manager Chris Lovell. “I think at certain times it’s really bad, but at other times it’s not. But obviously, I believe a light is warranted there.”
Lovell also noted the City Council is working with the Georgia Department of Transportation on plans to place a traffic light there in the future.
“We’re still in the permitting stage with the DOT, so I don’t have an exact time frame,” he said. “There are a lot of factors that come into play, but right now we’re working with DOT on a permit.”
“The issue there now is — especially in a.m. and p.m. — is traffic coming and going, and during school hours people are trying to cross (Highway) 144 off of Timber Trail and pulling out to the middle of road and stopping,” Richmond Hill Police Chief Billy Reynolds added. “That’s going to be a major assistance there with the signal.”
Although the intersection appears dangerous, he said not as many accidents happen there as people think.
“We’ve had accidents there, but not as many as you think, it’s just a dangerous place and we’ve been trying to get a traffic signal there for quite a while,” he said.
Lovell also noted the city would appreciate patience from residents.
“We’re working as hard as we can to get what DOT will allow and budgets will allow,” he said. “We just ask for everyone’s patience as we continue to work through the issues.”

Mulberry Drive at Highway 17
Another intersection in Richmond Hill that has caused concern for many residents is the intersection at Highway 17 and Mulberry Drive. The intersection became the topic of much discussion when plans for a Family Dollar store surfaced in March of last year.
After working with the Georgia DOT and Family Dollar to help with funding for a traffic light, the City Council on Feb. 19 approved a contract with Dublin-based Moye Electric to begin construction of the traffic light there.
“One thing we did that took a little more time was instead of wire, we’re doing mast arms which will look a lot better,” Lovell said. “Other than timing, we’ve had pretty good support. Obviously we’d liked to have had in before Family Dollar, but it didn’t happen that way.”
Moye Electric is in the process of ordering equipment for the project now, Lovell said. He noted the city would like to stick to its 150-day time frame, but he did not give a specific date as to when the project would be completed.
Reynolds said a traffic signal at that intersection is “past due.”
“That’s always been a location where it’s very dangerous and has a lot of traffic coming in and out,” he said. “When the old Kroger was over there, it was real active, and now we’ve got more businesses along that stretch next to Mulberry — it’s certainly needed over there.
“There have been some pretty serious accidents there over the years, so hopefully this will curtail a lot of that.”

Read more in the March 6 edition of the News.

 

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