traffic light

An aerial shot shows a long line of cars on Hwy. 84 approaching the school zone to turn left onto County Farm Road.        - Photo courtesy of Harbin Farr

Motorists will no longer be allowed to turn left from County Farm Road onto Hwy. 84, toward Patterson

Last week’s announcement of a traffic light slated for the heavily traveled County Farm Road and Hwy. 84 intersection prompted sighs of relief from school, city and county officials alike.

The news was celebrated by locals who travel that way regularly, too – most driving to and from the middle or high school – but many motorists may have to adjust their driving habits when the Department of Transporation’s plan is fully implemented.

A light will reportedly be in place by the start of a new school year, August 1, at the intersection where long-time firefighter Johnnie Anderson was struck while directing afternoon school traffic last month.

Apart from the light, however, will be a noticeable change in routing as part of the new plan.

Motorists will no longer be able to turn left onto Hwy. 84 east (toward Patterson) from County Farm Road once the light is up and running. A light barricade on 84 will cause all traffic to flow right onto the highway.

Motorists wishing to travel towards Patterson from County Farm Road will need to take New School Road or Knox Road out to Hwy. 84 and turn left from one of those intersections.

DOT is reportedly considering constructing a U-turn lane further down Hwy. 84 west (towards Blackshear) for drivers who wish to travel east, says Police Chief Chris Wright.

The new light will reportedly follow DOT’s ‘R-cut intersection’ design. County Farm’s intersection with Hwy. 84 will first be squared to a 90 degree approach. The city will most likely have to relocate water and sewer lines during that phase of the project.

A left turn light will direct Hwy. 84 east motorists attempting to turn onto County Farm while a stop light will halt traffic traveling west on the highway. At least one lane of Highway 84 east (towards Patterson) will always be open to through traffic, most likely signaled with a continual green arrow, officials say.

DOT Commissioner Russell McMurry informed city officials of the department’s recommendation last Thursday, May 9.

Construction of the traffic light will reportedly be state-funded. Local officials were told in April a light would cost approximately $300,000.

Two options  — a roundabout or a traffic light  — have been under consideration for the intersection since local officials met with DOT representatives in Atlanta a week after Anderson was hit and seriously injured.

When DOT did not provide their recommendation by a previously set deadline of Monday, May 6, city officials began calling state officials and received the department’s recommendation verbally Thursday. A written recommendation or detailed plans for the work have not yet been provided.

“This is very positive news and certainly the result that we have been hoping for an extended period of time,” says School Superintendent Dr. Kevin Smith. “We are very appreciative to the GaDOT for approving this traffic signal that will hopefully be in operation by the time school opens in early August. Safety is our highest priority and the installation of this traffic light at this busy intersection greatly improves the safety for everyone traveling to and from school and school events.”

Chief Wright anticipates the new traffic light will eliminate the need for officers to direct school zone traffic at the heavily-traveled intersection, a task he’s examined closely After Anderson was hit, Wright implemented a new policy that two traffic controllers must be present for BPD to direct traffic.

DOT’s proposal may seem like a win-win for the city, school system and locals traveling that route every day, but it’s not ideal for everyone.

DOT required William and Bill Wall, owners of United Market convenience store located just east of the intersection, to construct a right-turn-only entrance into their new business from Hwy. 84. The Walls did so,  only to be informed a day after the store opened, that DOT would lift that right-in-right-out restriction, allowing traffic to turn left from United Market to Hwy. 84 east.

Last week’s announcement of a traffic light slated for the heavily traveled County Farm Road and Hwy. 84 intersection prompted sighs of relief from school, city and county officials alike.

The news was celebrated by locals who travel that way regularly, too – most driving to and from the middle or high school – but many motorists may have to adjust their driving habits when the Department of Transporation’s plan is fully implemented.

A light will reportedly be in place by the start of a new school year, August 1, at the intersection where long-time firefighter Johnnie Anderson was struck while directing afternoon school traffic last month.

Apart from the light, however, will be a noticeable change in routing as part of the new plan.

Motorists will no longer be able to turn left onto Hwy. 84 east (toward Patterson) from County Farm

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Road once the light is up and running. A light barricade on 84 will cause all traffic to flow right onto the highway.

Motorists wishing to travel towards Patterson from County Farm Road will need to take New School Road or Knox Road out to Hwy. 84 and turn left from one of those intersections.

DOT is reportedly considering constructing a U-turn lane further down Hwy. 84 west (towards Blackshear) for drivers who wish to travel east, says Police Chief Chris Wright.

The new light will reportedly follow DOT’s ‘R-cut intersection’ design. County Farm’s intersection with Hwy. 84 will first be squared to a 90 degree approach. The city will most likely have to relocate water and sewer lines during that phase of the project.

A left turn light will direct Hwy. 84 east motorists attempting to turn onto County Farm while a stop light will halt traffic traveling west on the highway. At least one lane of Highway 84 east (towards Patterson) will always be open to through traffic, most likely signaled with a continual green arrow, officials say.

DOT Commissioner Russell McMurry informed city officials of the department’s recommendation last Thursday, May 9.

Construction of the traffic light will reportedly be state-funded. Local officials were told in April a light would cost approximately $300,000.

Two options  — a roundabout or a traffic light  — have been under consideration for the intersection since local officials met with DOT representatives in Atlanta a week after Anderson was hit and seriously injured.

When DOT did not provide their recommendation by a previously set deadline of Monday, May 6, city officials began calling state officials and received the department’s recommendation verbally Thursday. A written recommendation or detailed plans for the work have not yet been provided.

“This is very positive news and certainly the result that we have been hoping for an extended period of time,” says School Superintendent Dr. Kevin Smith. “We are very appreciative to the GaDOT for approving this traffic signal that will hopefully be in operation by the time school opens in early August. Safety is our highest priority and the installation of this traffic light at this busy intersection greatly improves the safety for everyone traveling to and from school and school events.”

Chief Wright anticipates the new traffic light will eliminate the need for officers to direct school zone traffic at the heavily-traveled intersection, a task he’s examined closely After Anderson was hit, Wright implemented a new policy that two traffic controllers must be present for BPD to direct traffic.

DOT’s proposal may seem like a win-win for the city, school system and locals traveling that route every day, but it’s not ideal for everyone.

DOT required William and Bill Wall, owners of United Market convenience store located just east of the intersection, to construct a right-turn-only entrance into their new business from Hwy. 84. The Walls did so,  only to be informed a day after the store opened, that DOT would lift that right-in-right-out restriction, allowing traffic to turn left from United Market to Hwy. 84 east.

Timeline:

April 10  — Johnnie Anderson is struck at the intersection while directing school traffic and seriously injured

April 17  — Local city, county and school system officials meet with DOT top administrators in Atlanta to discuss safety concerns

May 6  — DOT requests a deadline of May 6 for providing a final recommendation for the intersection

May 8 – United Market opens for business

May 9  — City officials receive word from DOT Commissioner Russell McMurry that a traffic light is recommended for the intersection

April 10  — Johnnie Anderson is struck at the intersection while directing school traffic and seriously injured

April 17  — Local city, county and school system officials meet with DOT top administrators in Atlanta to discuss safety concerns

May 6  — DOT requests a deadline of May 6 for providing a final recommendation for the intersection

May 8 – United Market opens for business

May 9  — City officials receive word from DOT Commissioner Russell McMurry that a traffic light is recommended for the intersection