new signal up

A Department of Transportation crew member gives a thumbs up to coworkers to signal that the light was up and running last Wednesday morning, July 24.

BPD, DOT to monitor new traffic signal at County Farm Rd.

Motorists are advised to use caution at the U.S. Highway 84 and County Farm Road intersection as school starts next week.

Blackshear Police Department won’t be directing school traffic at the busy intersection when school starts back August 7 now that a new traffic signal is in place there. Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) turned the light on last Wednesday morning.

Officers will, however, be keeping a close eye on traffic flow at the intersection.

“We will have an increased presence at the light and will continue to do so for the next few weeks,” said Police Chief Chris Wright last Thursday. “We have already stopped two that I know of for running the light.”

GDOT officials will also be monitoring the light closely over the next few weeks.

The light, which features a flashing yellow arrow (FYA) for drivers turning left from Hwy. 84 west onto County Farm Road, is the first of its kind installed in Pierce County. Wright reminds drivers the proper action for an FYA is to proceed with caution after yielding to oncoming traffic.

When a solid yellow arrow is displayed, drivers should prepare to stop, and when the red arrow appears, no left turn is allowed. Drivers may turn left at any time if signaled by a green arrow.

Traffic flow on Hwy. 84 east towards Patterson will be continuous, signaled by a solid green arrow. Drivers on Hwy. 84 westbound headed to Blackshear will have to follow the new signal, stopping when the light turns red.

Observant motorists may notice a camera mounted to a light pole on the eastbound side of Hwy. 84 at the intersection. The camera monitors traffic flow, feeding the data into a computer system that operates the light, but does not record or retain video footage of the highway.

“It tells the signals how to react … If traffic backs up, it’ll shift to another phase,” explains Jill Nagel, DOT communications director.

That data will be useful during school drop off and pick up times when traffic is heaviest.

Motorists will no longer be allowed to turn left off of County Farm Road. Traffic flow is right turn only from County Farm Rd. Local law enforcement agencies and DOT advise motorists to access Hwy. 84 eastbound (towards Patterson) from New School Road instead.

Patrons of United Market can turn left into and out of the driveway along Hwy. 84. Initially, customers of the new store could only turn right on to the highway, but DOT lifted that restriction.