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DOT ignores local traffic priorities

Posted: September 29, 2012 - 11:00pm

Some Columbia County voters likely still have a sour taste in their mouths after voting down the T-SPLOST, along with most Georgia voters, but seeing it enacted in this district anyway.

It’ll get worse Jan. 1, when the sales tax rises to 8 percent. There’s probably little to be done to stop it, unless some of the threatened lawsuits in other areas succeed. Until then, we’d like to hope that the much-ballyhooed highway construction plans set out in our area’s portion of the Transportation Improvement Act help ease the pain somewhat by fixing some lingering highway problems.

But if there’s a reason to lack optimism, it starts blinking Monday morning.

That’s when the Georgia Department of Transportation flips the switch to turn on the new traffic signal on Appling Harlem Highway at Columbia Road.

Now, if there were to be a poll of motorists in Columbia County about where a traffic signal is most needed on a state highway, we’re pretty sure Blanchard Road at Washington Road would be the overwhelming favorite, closely followed by Lewiston Road at William Few Parkway.

Appling Harlem at Columbia? It wouldn’t even make the list. But that seems to be the new normal for the DOT, which just down the road from that remote and decidely not-dangerous intersection the DOT is planning to build an entirely unnecessary and pointless “roundabout” in place of the perfectly functional Pumpkin Center intersection.

There was exactly zero public demand for those changes, but the DOT is building them anyway – while hitting the bureaucratic “ignore” button on pleas for help in other dangerous areas.

At least with the T-SPLOST, which we also didn’t want, the plans for the transportation projects already are laid out for public review and include upgrades to the county’s more dangerous areas.

No thanks to the DOT.

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Comments (4)

Little Lamb


I agree that the light is not needed at Hwy. 221 at Columbia Rd.

But I'm not in favor of a light at Blanchard Rd. at Washington. The main reason is because there are already many, many lights on Washington road near there. Too many lights on the same road really clog up traffic.

Barry Paschal

Blanchard Road light

I understand your point, but actually, the closest light would be the one at Halali Farm, with the next at Gibbs Road. Further East on Washington Road the lights are closer, with the one at Walmart, then Ronald Reagan Drive, then Evans to Locks, then Belair, then Old Evans. Blanchard Road would still be relatively remote.

Little Lamb

Traffic Circle

Now if the DOT would put a traffic circle or roundabout at Blanchard Rd. & Washington, that's something I could support!


Modern Roundabouts Rule!

remote intersections tend to have the worst kinds of crashes.

The FHWA has a video about modern roundabouts that is mostly accurate (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhHzly_6lWM ).
Modern roundabouts are the safest form of intersection in the world. Search www.iihs.org for FAQs and safety facts. The safety comes from the ‘slow and go’ operation instead of the ‘stop or go fast’ way a stop light works. The smaller size of the modern roundabout is what makes them safer and keeps speeds in the 20 mph range. This makes it much easier to avoid a crash or stop for pedestrians. It also means that if a crash happens the likelihood of injury is very low. Safety is the #1 reason there are over 2,400 modern roundabouts in the US today and many more on the way.
Slow and go also means less delay than a stop light or stop sign, especially the other 20 hours a day people aren’t driving to or from work. Average daily delay at a signal is around 12 seconds per car. At a modern roundabout average delay is less than five seconds. Signals take an hour of demand and restrict it to a half hour, at best only half the traffic gets to go at any one time. At a modern roundabout four drivers entering from four directions can all enter at the same time. Don’t try that with a signalized intersection.