Hope for the highway hotspot

Traffic dense intersection solution underway by GDOT and Peachtree City
Graphic Illustration via Canva by Rebekah Bushmire
Graphic Illustration via Canva by Rebekah Bushmire
Rebekah Bushmire

Highway 54 and Highway 74 cross at a well-known traffic dense intersection causing traffic backups on the daily. This issue has been a constantly complained about problem by Peachtree City citizens and a solution for the hectic traffic area is underway.

During the April 15, 2024, Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) Town Hall meeting, where approximately 225 individuals were signed up to attend, Peachtree City officials alongside GDOT Area Engineer Rubin McCullors, GDOT District Traffic Engineer Daniel Trevorrow, GDOT District Construction Engineer Keenan Ford and GDOT Assistant District Construction Engineer Donald Stull made up a panel of representatives who answered the questions submitted to them by the citizens who attended the meeting.

Screenshot from animatic used in the Peachtree City Town Meeting (Rebekah Bushmire)

The meeting began with an explanation of the construction currently underway near Highway 54 and 74. As explained by Trevorrow, currently under construction is a “displaced left turn intersection.” A left turn will be moved over to the other side of opposing traffic before the intersection so at the intersection the left can get a green light at the same time as the opposing traffic so they no longer cross in front.

Trevorrow spoke more in depth on the changes made to the intersection while a simulation played for the audience to view.

Relating to the Highway 54 multi-use path bridge construction, Donovan Pink with Kiewit, spoke more in-depth on the bridge construction. The pre-existing bridge is narrow and restricting so the construction is in place to widen the bridge for more space allowing two way movement on the bridge, which is currently not possible due to the restrictive width.

Attendees were able to write down questions through out the meeting and hold them up to be taken by a volunteer to the front to be read aloud for the panel to answer. Citizens could write and submit as many questions as they chose to but there was not a guarantee for all the questions to be answered before the meeting came to an end. The following is from the Q&A portion of the meeting where various panel member chimed in to answer the questions:

Q: How long will the full [54/74 intersection] project take?
A: “Currently the project is scheduled to be completed summer 2026, or fall 2026.”

Q: How will the construction effect traffic and travel time?
A: “Currently, you won’t get a lot of effect with the traveling [during] the peak hours. We strategically allow for any lane closure, any delays, to be done at night time so all of the closures, any lane closure we have will be done at eight o’clock.”

Q: Following the completion of the displaced left turn, what will be the total intersection delay time for 54/74 intersection?
A: “What we have found in our analysis during the concept development for this project, is we were showing a 10% reduction in average delay per vehicle for the whole intersection in the morning peak period and about a 30% reduction in the evening peak at time of completion. We design our projects for a 20 year design horizon, that’s pretty standard for these big projects, so in the 2040’s we were showing a similar type of expected reduction in the peak periods. About 30% in both those peak periods.”

Q: It has been advertised that the west bound side needs to have a lane closure for construction. Why on the east bound side [in reference to the bridge]?
A: “They need that closure on the other side because they are working in the median and it is just not safe to have traffic right up against the work zone.”

Q: For the 54/74 project, when will the construction officially start?
A: “Actually the construction has already started. We received notice to proceed in February. You may have seen the contractors start minor work, installing silk fence and clearing so technically they’ve already started with the construction.”

Q: How much would the total [54/74] project cost and will there be any cost or addition money required for Peachtree City residents?
A: “Currently the cost for the project is roughly 22 million dollars, that’s a dollar amount right now. I believe the cost that was acquired from Peachtree City was already included into the contract, the dollar amount.”

Note: The intersection project is funded from a “federal lonesome project”, so the money is coming from a specific source thats for the entire state. It is a competitive program and the majority of the money is coming from that lonesome. GDOT allowed the city to include enhancements, visual enhancements like updating traffic control signs. There was some money put into the project by Peachtree City, and that money came from SPLOST.

The Q&A portion of the meeting continued, answering over three dozen questions from citizens. The entire recording can be found HERE.

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