Two city improvements will make a dangerous Harlem intersection safer and provide the city more water.
About 600 residents went without power for nearly six hours Monday after a distracted driver missed the stop sign at Harlem-Grovetown Road and North Louisville Street. He veered into and snapped a utility pole, disrupting electricity, telephone and cable services.
Officials decided at Monday's monthly city council meeting to install rumble strips on westbound Harlem-Grovetown Road approaching the stop sign. The strips would warn drivers of the upcoming stop at North Louisville Street.
"It is a very inexpensive fix," said Scott Johnson, a Harlem resident who is also Columbia County's deputy administrator. "But, hopefully, we could use that as an indicator to kind of slow people down and let them know the stop sign is coming. ... That stop sign sneaks up on them (drivers)."
Johnson, who said the county could install the rumble strips at cost, estimated the installation to cost less than $500.
"Most stop signs at the end of a road have some type of warning leading up to them anyway," Councilman John Thigpen said.
Mayor Bobby Culpepper agreed the intersection needs safety improvements and suggested the council consider realigning Harlem-Grovetown Road so it meets North Louisville Street at a right angle to improve visibility.
City officials also are moving the required speed reduction signs along Harlem-Grovetown Road into the county.
The move would allow more room for the mandatory reduction signs on the road, where a 55 mph speed limit is posted, allowing for a 35 mph zone to begin at the city limits.
Also at the meeting, officials approved spending $86,000 to extend water lines to the McDuffie County line along U.S. Highway 78/West Milledgeville Road.
The line would provide a backup water source, City Manager Jean Dove said.
Harlem currently relies on three city wells for 5 percent of its water use and gets the rest of its supply from Columbia County's water system, Dove said.
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