New traffic light for Hwy. 85S.-Bernhard?

Tue, 04/07/2009 - 3:53pm
By: Ben Nelms

Nearly a dozen south Fayette residents met April 6 with Georgia Department of Transportation (DOT) District Engineer Mike England and Fayette County Public Works Director Phil Mallon to talk about putting a traffic light and turn lanes where Ga. Highway 85 South intersects Bernhard Road and later, potentially, at Harp Road.

The informal meeting dealt more specifically with Bernhard Road since the process for that intersection is nearly complete.

England said the initial traffic study for Bernhard Road was completed in 1994. He said the process for making the intersection improvements at both locations, including the necessary funding, was currently in place, though the Bernhard Road project was further ahead.

Estimates for the installation of turn lanes and a traffic signal at Bernhard Road anticipates that right-of-way could be acquired in the near term so that construction could start in late 2010. The road improvement process, he said, requires substantial study and time to gain approval.

Most of those attending the meeting were residents of the Bernhard Road area and spoke in favor of having a traffic signal in place at the intersection.

One of those was Delano Chastine, who has lived in the area since 1995. Like others present, Chastine noted the backlog of traffic that customarily occurs as local residents and those traveling from Peachtee City attempt to make left turns to the north onto Hwy. 85.

Area resident Mitchell Price said he favored a different approach, one that would, for the time being, only install turn lanes at the Bernhard Road intersection. Price agreed that safety at the intersection was paramount, adding that the presence of a light at this time could impede the flow of traffic.

In response, England said the intersection would be designed so that the signal was tripped when vehicles on Bernhard Road approached the traffic light.

DOT data surveys show that 13,730 vehicles per day pass through the Bernhard Road intersection, while 14,630 vehicles travel through the Harp Road intersection each day.

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