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County to fight DOT on Bethany

Tia Lynn Ivey News

The battle for a traffic light to be constructed at the intersection of Bethany Road and the 441 Madison Bypass is pressing on, despite repeated denials from the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT), the sole organization with the authority to approve a traffic light request.

Morgan County government and the City of Madison have agreed to pass a joint resolution expressing their united desire for a traffic light at the Bethany Road intersection, which local officials have deemed one of the most dangerous intersections in the county.

According to county and city officials, State Representative Dave Belton asked for the joint resolution in order to advocate for the traffic light at the state level.

County Commissioner Ron Milton was eager to pass the resolution.

“I have been pushing for several years to get something done out there,” said Milton. “I know the preference of the people in that area is for a traffic signal.”

In the past, GDOT cited insufficient traffic flow as the reason for denying requests for a traffic light at the Bethany Road intersection. GDOT has proposed an R-CUT installation as a temporary solution and have asked local leaders to eventually consider the construction of a roundabout.  But local leaders are hoping new growth in the area could finally tip the GDOT scales in favor of a traffic light.

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 feet after the intersection.”

According to GDOT, “The modern roundabout is a type of circular intersection defined by the basic operational principle of entering traffic yielding to vehicles on the circulatory roadway. Roundabouts have geometric features providing a reduced speed environment that offers substantial safety advantages and excellent operational performance.  Roundabouts shall be considered as an alternative for all intersections that are being reconstructed, including those where a traffic signal is being proposed.”

However, after a meeting with local officials in October, GDOT promised to reevaluate the intersection after expected development growth comes to fruition.. In the coming months, traffic flow is expected to increase on the bypass due to the following projects:  a large-scale senior community campus, the new hospital opening, the new consolidated school campus that features a new cut-through to the bypass, a newly approved daycare center for up to 300 children out of Redeemer Church of Madison, as well as Redeemer’s ever-growing congregation, and several other coming commercial business along the bypass.

The County Commissioners unanimously approved the resolution to request a traffic light. According to Madison City Councilman Eric Joyce, the city council plans to officially adopt the resolution at the next regular meeting, this Monday, Dec. 10.

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