New Hwy. 74: 3-lane slowdown

Fri, 04/24/2009 - 4:00pm
By: John Munford

DOT, aided by PTC police, look at raising 45 mph limit

With three lanes going in each direction, Ga. Highway 74 south of Ga. Highway 54 in Peachtree City almost begs motorists to put the pedal to the medal.

But signs on the road say the speed limit is 45 mph, and that has led to a number of citizen complaints the speed is too slow, said Peachtree City Police Chief Skip Clark.

The road speed is set by the Georgia Department of Transportation, and the police department is working with the agency to provide data of current vehicle speeds on the road, Clark said. That data comes from readings from the vehicle’s SMART trailer that displays speeds to motorists and also from more stealthy devices the department employs, Clark said.

The department has used its flashing message board to remind motorists of the lower speed limit.

The department is also, in some sections of the road, trying to give drivers a break by issuing warnings in many cases unless the driver is significantly over the speed limit as a reminder to slow down, Clark said.

Meanwhile, the city is hoping to hear back from the DOT about its decision on a potential new speed limit within two to four weeks, Clark said.

“People do get up there a little better than 45,” Clark said, noting that he has the same problem. “It’s easy to do.”

The southbound portion of the road is a far cry from its previous state, where vehicles had to merge from two lanes to one just before they got to the Waffle House. Instead there are now three lanes for vehicles to spread out, and speed up.

But the new road comes with one lingering issue. Despite the three lanes and relatively open space for vehicles, it also has a 45 mph speed limit.

Clark noted that the police department also does traffic studies when complaints are received about a city street’s speed limit being too high. While lowering a speed limit might draw complaints from some that police just want to write more speeding tickets on that road, the goal is to “strike a balance” that allows for the road to be safe and yet move traffic at the same time, Clark said.

The police department has also worked with GDOT on improving traffic timing at the intersection of Hwys. 54 and 74, Clark noted. It was discovered that some of the traffic sensors in the road were not working, the chief said.

While the department is mainly focused on traffic law enforcement, it also does want to see motorists be able to move smoothly throughout town, Clark added.

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Submitted by Watasha on Mon, 05/04/2009 - 3:02pm.

The speed limit was posted 45 due to the design of the roadway. AASHTO, which is the federal design guidelines, states that the speed design for a roadway with longitudinal curb and gutter (within 8 feet of the travel lane) is 45 mph. The GDOT is doing a study after the fact to determine what the actual safe speed should be. Barring political pressures, the speed limits would not look arbitrary, but it is what it is. The 'after the fact' study requires speed samples as well as speed related accidents, preferably a year's worth to determine the properly posted speed limit. In this case, there will probably be enough outcry to make that determination with less data.
The State Trooper vs local enforcement comment is correct, GSP doesn't have to give motorists more than 10 mph as the locals do. The reason is that there is no revenue for the state where the laws try to protect motorists from local government speed traps attempting to raise revenue. I know several of the PTC police officers, and this would not apply to them because I do believe their objective is safety not money.

SpinDr's picture
Submitted by SpinDr on Mon, 05/04/2009 - 3:14pm.

I find it ironic that the speed limit in the old two lane Hwy 74 School Zone near the Starrs Mill complex is 45 mph during the school drop off and pick up periods and the speed limit on the brand new six lane Hwy 74 just north of there during all hours is 45 mph. Something doesn't add up. Maybe that study is well advised.

Submitted by Arf on Mon, 04/27/2009 - 8:08pm.

I can't really figure out why Hwy 74 South has gotten so much attention, especially when Hwy 74 North and Hwy 54 both need a lot of help. It probably has something to do with the future TDK expressway plan from Coweta and/or somebody big planning something annoying for Hwy 85 at the south end, the only quiet side of PTC left. However, the increased lanes sure improves the drive along 74 South. In fact, I started driving 74 and then Redwine to Fayetteville in the mornings and evenings instead of going straight down the dreaded 54. It's longer distance wise, but much fewer traffic lights and less traffic. And coming home, I don't have to wait 10, 15 , 20 minutes or longer just to get through 54/74. Why they would have made these improvements though, and lowered the speed limit to 45 MPH makes no sense. Just be careful you don't go over which is easy to do because it's such an easy ride with so little traffic.

Submitted by Spyglass on Mon, 04/27/2009 - 5:01pm.

How hard is for folks to slow down for a mile or two?

Submitted by smoke20 on Mon, 04/27/2009 - 1:57pm.

OK, people let's take a trip down memory lane. Start when you first turn onto HWY 74 from GA HWY 85. The speed limit is 55 there, slowing to '45' for the Starr's Mill school zone. Note that I did just say 45mph for a school zone on a two lane highway. Just as you pass Rockaway the speed posted is 55 mph. That used to remain 55mph until you passed the Crosstown/TDK intersection where it went to 50mph. Now, all of this was on a two lane road, not for much less six lanes. Also, the speed limit through this section of road DURING construction was 45mph. So what gives? What kind of IDIOTS set this speed limit? I have also noticed lately that as you approach the Crosstown/TDK instersection heading West there is a sign posted saying reduced speed ahead. The next speed limit sign you see is 45mph right before same intersection. Does that mean that they are going to up the speed limit from Crosstown/TDK to GA HWY 85? Not much seems to be done with any logic around here, but this one really has me stumped.

Submitted by AtHomeGym on Mon, 04/27/2009 - 3:08pm.

Those speed limit decisions are made by the same dummies who decide to put 3-way stop signs where one road is clearly a primary and the other clearly a secondary. For years we lived without accident with a "Yield" from our secondary and no sign on the primary. Oh no, gotta show some power here and make everybody stop. A prime candidate for civil disobedience, including extraction and disposal of the signs (has happened twice). They just don't get the message.

Submitted by fluffybear on Fri, 04/24/2009 - 8:28pm.

I thought I recall (I could be wrong) there was some federal law/rule/mandate which limits speeds on roads such as this. If I remember correctly (from past driving tests) that 45 was the maximum speed on any road in an incorporated city/town & has cross and signal lights.

Personally, with the traffic signals on this stretch of road, I see doing anything more then 45 being nothing but a waste. It makes my day to watch these idiots barreling down this section of 74 at excessive speeds, weaving in and out of lanes only to find themselves sitting next to me at a red light. For the record, this happens more time then not.

Submitted by PTC4LIFE on Sat, 04/25/2009 - 3:53pm.

Supposedly, they make it 45mph, knowing you will likely do 55mph. since it is pretty rare if not impossible to give a ticket for speeding less than 10mph over the posted, it keeps (most) people in check.

The other difference I see is this road has a sidewalk on both sides which opens the door for a pedestrian to possibly be in the road or on the path and in the path of an accident.

Just don't go over 55 and you should be fine, and if you do more than 55 you deserve to be fined.

Let me add, share the street give 3ft to cyclist on any road you see them. And put down the damn phone.


Submitted by fluffybear on Sat, 04/25/2009 - 7:01pm.

I spoke with a police officer friend of ours who did confirm that Georgia does have a law on the book which restricts the speed on a given type of road.
I was also told that Georgia has law on it's books which actually reads police officers are not to ticket someone who is driving in excess of 5 miles an hour over the posted speed limit.

This being said, I say it is time for police to hand out tickets to all of these idiots who want to drive anything in excess of that.

BTW, I am in full support of a law which would fine anyone who is using a cell phone or texting which operating a vehicle of any kind (and that includes a tricycle)

Submitted by stevie711 on Sat, 04/25/2009 - 8:03pm.

It's 10 miles over the limit before a city or county cop can ticket you, unless it is in a school zone or subdivision then can they ticket you for going over any speed limit. This is the reason most give you the 14 miles per hour limit.

They set their radar at 15. Uaually 15 or more you get a ticket, less then 14 you usually get a warning. The State Patrol can ticket you for over 1 mile over the limit. All this goes out the window if there is a wreck involved, or some other other incident. Peace

Cyclist's picture
Submitted by Cyclist on Sun, 04/26/2009 - 10:02am.

driving in the left lane. The GVC states:

(2) On roads, streets, or highways with two or more lanes allowing for movement in the same direction, no person shall continue to operate a motor vehicle in the most left-hand lane at less than the maximum lawful speed limit once such person knows or should reasonably know that he is being overtaken in such lane from the rear by a motor vehicle traveling at a higher rate of speed, except when such motor vehicle is preparing for a left turn.

Caution - The Surgeon General has determined that constant blogging is an addiction that can cause a sedentary life style.

Submitted by fluffybear on Sat, 04/25/2009 - 9:38pm.

Pulled this from the Georgia Code:


§ 40-6-1. Observance of chapter required; punishment for violations generally; maximum fines for certain offenses

(a) It is unlawful and, unless otherwise declared in this chapter with respect to particular offenses, it is a misdemeanor for any person to do any act forbidden or fail to perform any act required in this chapter.

(b) Unless a different maximum fine or greater minimum fine is specifically provided in this chapter for a particular violation, the maximum fine which may be imposed as punishment for a first offense of violating any lawful speed limit established by or pursuant to the provisions of Article 9 of this chapter by exceeding a maximum lawful speed limit:

(1) By five miles per hour or less shall be no dollars;

(2) By more than five but not more than ten miles per hour shall not exceed $25.00;

(3) By more than ten but not more than 14 miles per hour shall not exceed $100.00;

(4) By more than 14 but less than 19 miles per hour shall not exceed $125.00;

(5) By 19 or more but less than 24 miles per hour shall not exceed $150.00; or

(6) By 24 or more but less than 34 miles per hour shall not exceed $500.00.

Submitted by stevie711 on Sun, 04/26/2009 - 5:47am.

What you are referring to is what they can charge per speeding incident..Read on it will tall you about the State Patrol, and how they are the only law enforcement group that can write below 10 mph.

Submitted by fluffybear on Sun, 04/26/2009 - 8:22am.

I did not find that written anywhere. So unless you are prepared to show me where it says that the state patrol is the only agency authorized to write tickets for those who exceed the speed limit by 0-10 miles, I'll stick with what a local law enforcement has said and what I can see in the state laws.

Submitted by stevie711 on Sun, 04/26/2009 - 4:47pm.

I think you need to tell your cop friend that he or she might want to spend more time with their nose in the Ga. code book and less time writing people tickets.

Surly they were pulling your leg. Tell me this is a joke. And you wonder why the good citizens of Peachtree City are fed up with the law enforcement when it comes to traffic violations.

Now let's go ticket some skate boarders. PS: don't take this personal Fluffybear, just having some fun...

Submitted by fluffybear on Mon, 04/27/2009 - 7:14am.

Maybe the problem is with you and your refusal to look at the whole picture.. It's already been stated here (including by yourself) that the Ga State Patrol can issue tickets for anyone exceeding the speed limit (by any amount). Since the fine for 0 to 5 miles over is $0 then we can assume the chances of you getting pulled over are next to none. Based on that, I would say their comment about being a 5 mile tolerance was very accurate.

Submitted by stevie711 on Tue, 04/28/2009 - 7:47am.

Fluffybear, let it alone and insist on your cop friend to update themselves on the law. Later....

Submitted by fluffybear on Tue, 04/28/2009 - 5:01pm.

I'm not going to insist to them anything! I can only hope you and those like you get what you deserve! Plenty of speed tickets!

mapleleaf's picture
Submitted by mapleleaf on Tue, 04/28/2009 - 7:22am.

The fine for 0 to 5 miles over the speed limit is $0 for a first offense. You showed that yourself in an earlier post.

Now, why would a state trooper assume this is "your" first offense, fluffybear?

Submitted by helpful lawyer on Sun, 04/26/2009 - 9:09am.

Official Code of Georgia Annotated § 40-14-8. When case may be made and conviction had.

(a) No county, city, or campus officer shall be allowed to make a case based on the use of any speed detection device, unless the speed of the vehicle exceeds the posted speed limit by more than ten miles per hour and no conviction shall be had thereon unless such speed is more than ten miles per hour above the posted speed limit.

(b) The limitations contained in subsection (a) of this Code section shall not apply in properly marked school zones one hour before, during, and one hour after the normal hours of school operation, in properly marked historic districts, and in properly marked residential zones. For purposes of this chapter, thoroughfares with speed limits of 35 miles per hour or more shall not be considered residential districts. For purposes of this Code section, the term "historic district" means a historic district as defined in paragraph (5) of Code Section 44-10-22 and which is listed on the Georgia Register of Historic Places or as defined by ordinance adopted pursuant to a local constitutional amendment.

Submitted by fluffybear on Sun, 04/26/2009 - 10:32am.

Thank You for the information.

Moving on, this section needs to be repealed! So, I'm a local law enforcement officer and detect some moron doing 53 on 45mph stretch of 74 and can not do a thing? That is just plain stupid..

So now that this section has come to light, I'm sure we can now look forward to more people exceeding the speed limit on our roads & as far as I am concerned firmly puts me on the side of being against raising the speed limit on the S side of 74. We do not need people (legally) driving 60+ through the center of town.

BTW, that clause appears to only apply to electronic speed detection devices. I do not see it addressed in that section but is there a section which prohibits a local law enforcement officer from clocking you?

Submitted by askari on Sun, 04/26/2009 - 2:11pm.

You really think it is stupid that someone is not fined for driving 53 in a 45 zone? At least the law realizes that most speedometers are not 100% accurate and change as tires wear etc. I bet you can't keep your speed perfectly constant uphill and downhill either. Fussybear must be one of those people who drives slower than the limit and prevents others from "breaking the law."

We should reassign police units from drug interdiction and armed robbery responses to enforce Fussybear's zero tolerance approach.

Submitted by fluffybear on Mon, 04/27/2009 - 6:28am.

What makes no sense is not allowing local law enforcement to write tickets for anything less then 10 miles over but the GA. State Patrol can.

We already have officers out there but because of a stupid quirk in the law, they are not able to do their job. BTW, I have no issue with a 5 mile tolerance to cover those discrepancies you have mentioned but 10 miles seem excessive especially when people are whining about the speed limits are adequate.

Submitted by helpful lawyer on Sun, 04/26/2009 - 11:27am.

Official Code of Georgia Annotated § 40-14-1. Definitions

As used in this chapter, the term:

(1) "Campus" means the grounds owned or occupied by a college or university.

(2) "Campus law enforcement agency" means the campus agency charged with the enforcement of the laws of this state.

(3) "College or university" means an accredited public or private educational institution of higher learning.

(4) "Speed detection device" means, unless otherwise indicated, that particular device designed to measure the speed or velocity of a motor vehicle and marketed under the name "Vascar" or any similar device operating under the same or similar principle and any devices for the measurement of speed or velocity based upon the Doppler principle of radar or the speed timing principle of laser. All such devices must meet or exceed the minimum performance specifications established by the Department of Public Safety.

Submitted by fluffybear on Sun, 04/26/2009 - 12:21pm.

As i said, that section only deals with electronic speed detection devices (radar, laser, etc.). The officer is free to write you up if he detects your speed using the old fashion methods.

Submitted by helpful lawyer on Sun, 04/26/2009 - 11:25am.

edited out after noticing server error

Submitted by g8trgrl on Sat, 04/25/2009 - 11:55am.

Why then as you get north of 54 does the speed limit go up to 55? It only has 2 lanes & is faster than south of 54 which now has 3 lanes. There is no logic being used here. Part of south of 54 also goes to 40 actually. Good luck doing 40 there, you will get the dirtiest looks from people, especially out of county people who do not drive 74 everyday.

The GDOT needs to fix this. It is such a challenge to stay at 45 mph on 74 south of 54.

Submitted by fluffybear on Sat, 04/25/2009 - 6:46pm.

I believe that 55 MPH speed limit does not take effect until after you leave the city limits.
Why is it such a challenge? It is not an issue for me and obviously many others. Do you ever drive Peachtree Parkway? Do you have problems observing the speed limits in school zones as well.

I agree the GDOT needs to fix this and set a firm 45 MPH speed limit on 74 within the Peachtree City limits then the police need to patrol the street more often and ticket more and more people. I bet after a few tickets, you won't have such a hard time slowing down!

rock78's picture
Submitted by rock78 on Fri, 04/24/2009 - 8:01pm.

who decided it would be a good idea to make I85 three lanes @ 74. Our incompetent DOT apparently LOVES crashes on the southside (Those who listen to captain Herb know what I'm referencing). You heard it here first, we'll have at least 3-4 life threatening crashes in this area until they end this mindless roadwork. Hopefully they will eventually complete the road-work on the weekends only. Otherwise, Christian City will become the next PTC bypass.

Steve Brown's picture
Submitted by Steve Brown on Fri, 04/24/2009 - 5:44pm.

45 mph is a bit low. However, on Hwy. 54-W, the 35-40 mph is appropriate because of the number of curb cuts and the traffic volume.

Evil Elvis's picture
Submitted by Evil Elvis on Fri, 04/24/2009 - 5:21pm.

You'll lose trying to get off at exit 61 on Highway 85. What kind of morons plan this stuff? GDOT barricades off an entire lane for construction, but there is nobody on site; no construction. Nothing.

Par for the course for the agency that spelt Tyrone incorrectly and thought Clover Reach was "Culver Reach".

Submitted by ptcmom678 on Fri, 04/24/2009 - 4:28pm.

You drive 45 mph on 74 in some spots, and you WILL get mowed down.

On the traffic sensors - do tell - that's what we bikers have been complaining about for awhile now.

Nagatsubo's picture
Submitted by Nagatsubo on Fri, 04/24/2009 - 5:11pm.

...that Tyrone will support this. They have enough budget headaches without agreeing to give up their speed-trap revenue.

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