Last stand for Bethany Road traffic light

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Tia Lynn Ivey managing editor

The Morgan County Board of Commissioners (BOC) is hoping to convince The Georgia Department of Transportation’s (GDOT) Planning Director Jay Roberts that a traffic light at the Bethany Road and Route 441 Intersection is warranted. But time is running out, as GDOT is planning to move forward with installing an RCUT (Restricted Crossing U-Turn) near the intersection in just a few more weeks. GDOT has repeatedly rejected Morgan County’s request to construct a traffic light at the intersection, which local leaders and concerned citizens have deemed one of the most dangerous intersections in the county. Local citizen Charles McClain even started a petition demanding a traffic light, which has garnered 800 signatures of registered voters in Morgan County. The BOC is headed to the state capitol this week for District Days, an event sponsored by the Association County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG), “designed to allow county officials the opportunity to spend time with their respective legislative delegations, the District Days will allow county officials to hear from state leaders on key topics while the General Assembly is in session. While all the commissioners are in Atlanta, they have slated a meeting with Roberts to discuss the traffic light at Bethany Road, in addition to other requests from the county gone unapproved.

The BOC hopes a face-to-face can persuade Roberts to take the county’s side. But GDOT has thus far maintained that the Bethany Road intersection does not meet the criteria to warrant a traffic light, opting for the RCUT instead. An R-CUT design would require drivers seeking to cross over 441 or make a left turn onto 441 from Bethany Road to first make a right turn onto the highway. Once the right turn is made, drivers would have several hundred feet to get into the left lane before approaching a turning lane and opening to make a U-Turn back on 411 in the desired direction. According to the Federal Highway Administration, an “R–CUT intersection accommodates these movements by requiring drivers to turn right onto the main road and then make a U-turn maneuver at a one-way median opening 400 to 1,000 ft after the intersection.” The BOC is also planning to discuss some other matters with Roberts during their meeting. The BOC will ask for three-to-five crossovers to be created on I-20 to ensure that the fire department as an adequate number of turn around locations when in route to an emergency.

“These crossovers have been allowed in other counties, but haven’t been permitted in our county,” said Commissioner Ellen Warren. The commissioners also plan to express support for the Morgan County Board of Education’s (BOE) request for GDOT to approve a cut-through roadway to accommodate the coming expanded and consolidated school campus on College Drive in Madison. “We hope we can change the outcome on this before it’s too late,” said Warren.

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