By Tia Lynn Ivey
Be prepared for road detours and traffic delays in Morgan County in coming months, as well as an out-of-order traffic light in the heart of Downtown Madison.
This week, the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) announced three separate projects—including the nearly $40 million widening of 441 and railroad bridge repairs on Highway 83—on the horizon in Madison and Morgan County, urging drivers to stay alert.
The most pressing safety matter is the broken traffic light at the corner of Washington Street and Main Street in Downtown Madison. The critical stop light for the high-traffic area will now be a four-way stop until the light can be fixed, which could take up to 22 weeks.
“It’s the busiest intersection in all of Madison,” said City Manager David Nunn. “We are pleading with drivers to be cautious and to treat the intersection as a four-way stop. Take it slow, do not follow the car in front of you, but wait your turn, approach, look and then proceed.”
The crucial traffic light broke on Wednesday, Dec. 23 when a local truck driver rammed the mast arm of the traffic light.
“Recently a large truck damaged a traffic signal mast arm on GA 83/Washington Street at the US 441 BU/Main Street in downtown Madison. The location is a four-way stop until further notice,” said Kyle Collins, a spokesperson for GDOT.
“Our district signal team is processing an emergency repair order for a replacement mast arm. This will take time since the typical production and delivery runs 18-22 weeks. Once in hand, a contractor will return the intersection to normal function. Our district is also discussing alternatives for traffic control before the final fix comes.”
GDOT also announced two other projects underway in Madison and Morgan County. Beginning on Monday, January 11, drivers can expect a detour on Highway 83 as GDOT closes part of the road to complete railroad bridge repairs.
“Crews will work on the W. Washington St. structure from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily through Friday, Jan. 15. Traffic will move through during non-work hours. The official detour will utilize Sandy Creek Rd., US 441, and US 441 Business/Main St. W. Jefferson St. and all other downtown streets will remain open to local traffic,” said a GDOT press release.
GDOT also announced last week that the highly-anticipated project to widen Highway 441 has been awarded to E.R. Snell Contractor, Inc. in the amount of $39.291 million to “rebuild U.S. 441 from the I-20 Interchange in the City of Madison to the Putnam County line.
“Once underway it will take several years to complete. There are future projects to the south and north in development as well to complete corridor widening in Putnam, Morgan and Oconee counties,” said a GDOT press release.