News Release: GDOT
THOMASVILLE, Ga. – Traffic lights cycled two, sometimes three times, before drivers who wanted to go straight on U.S. 19/State Route 300 were able to maneuver around those who waited to turn left along the heavily commercial route in Thomasville.
The problem: inadequate left turn lanes that prevented vehicles from moving out of the through lanes. The solution: a Georgia Department of Transportation project that extended the left turn lanes at U.S. 19 north at the SR 35 Connector and at U.S. 19 south at SR 122.
The Quick Response Project cost $119,536.37, money that came from the state motor fuel tax. Quick Response Projects each typically cost less than $200,000 and are primarily used for small projects on the state route system. Projects are identified by Georgia Department of Transportation engineers or city and county staff and are managed through the Office of Local Grants.
The extended turn lanes are one of three recently-completed Quick Response Projects in Thomas County.
“These quick response projects are the example of our close working relationship with legislators and local elected officials. GDOT is committed to working with our local partners to make sure we have a safer Georgia,” said Jay Shaw, chairman of the State Transportation Board. Shaw, from Lakeland, represents the 8th Congressional District, which includes Thomas County.
Local officials said drivers needed some relief on busy U.S. 19, which has seen significant commercial growth in the Thomasville area.
“We don’t have a bypass. That area takes all the truck traffic as well as being the hub of our fast food, our shopping centers, all the school traffic and entertainment,” Thomas County Public Works Supervisor Tony Wooten said.
Thomasville Public Works Director Mike Atkinson travels the route each day on his way home.
“In some cases, you might have sat there through two cycles of the light. On the third cycle, you might have gotten through,” he said.
Extending the turn lanes has taken care of the problem, Atkinson said.
“I haven’t seen cars in the through lanes that were waiting to make a left hand turn. I haven’t noticed traffic backing up like it had in the past,” he said.
Wooten said the contractor, The Scruggs Co., is to be commended for doing the work quickly.
Two other Quick Response Projects recently completed in Thomas County improved safety for drivers wanting to turn right off U.S. 19 north. Right-turn lanes were constructed at SR 188 in Ochlocknee at a cost of $106,026.50 and at SR 111 in Meigs at a cost $128,714.16. The contractor for those projects was also The Scruggs Co.
The turn lanes were needed to prevent motorists from braking while in the through lane of the high-speed highway. Traffic can now safely decelerate before turning.