GDOT unveils plans to improve Twiggs County highway intersection

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JEFFERSONVILLE, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Twiggs County residents want to make the intersection of Highway 57 and Ridge Road safer.

They don’t like that drivers have to cross a divided highway from side streets.

They said it’s too dangerous.

There have been many accidents at the intersection recently.

Some of them were fatal.

“We have a very dangerous intersection here. It’s been dangerous for years. The number of accidents furnished to me by the D.O.T. equates to every 3.6 weeks, there’s an accident,” said Twiggs County Commissioner Donald Watson.

More than 900 people signed a petition to have GDOT take a look at how it can make the intersection safer.

“We look at current traffic volumes. We look at peak hour turning movements. We look at crash data. We look at roadway characteristics,” explained Tyler Peek from the Georgia Department of Transportation.

GDOT representatives presented the findings of that study and their recommendation of a “restricted crossing U-turn” or “r-cut” to residents Tuesday.

“You would restrict your turning movements from the side streets to right turns only. You would still allow your movements from 57. Your left turns from 57, right turns from 57, would still be allowed. You would just disallow, from the side street, a left turn or a crossing maneuver,” explained Peek.

The idea didn’t sit well with some people.

“My biggest fear of that is a 64 footer truck out there trying to do a U-turn with a minute and a half making the U-turn, another three and a half to four minutes getting up to speed. This is roughly six, seven minutes worth of fatality just waiting,” explained Nathan Smith, who is a truck driver.

GDOT said it would create storage lanes to address those concerns.

“As they’re driving down 57, getting ready to make a U-turn, they can get into a lane designated for that U-turn that would provide them storage so they’re not just sitting out there in the middle of the travel lane,” said Peek.

GDOT explained there isn’t enough traffic volume at the intersection for a traffic signal and while a roundabout is an option, it’s very expensive and would take a few years to build.

GDOT added the department has had great results reducing crashing with r-cuts.

GDOT wants Twiggs County commissioners to approve the plan before construction starts.

The r-cut could be finished as early as fall.

GDOT estimates the project to cost about $100,000.

GDOT would cover the entire cost.