Intersection deemed safer with new stop sign
by Sarah Fay Campbell
What is considered one of Coweta County's most dangerous intersections is a lot safer thanks to a new stop sign put in place as a temporary improvement.
The Georgia Department of Transportation added a stop sign to the intersection of Ga. Hwy. 154 and Old Highway 16, making it a true three-way-stop, while adding pavement to create a right-turn lane so that traffic turning right only has to yield, not stop.
The three-point intersection has been the site of multiple accidents, primarily because it seemed to be a three-way-stop when it wasn't. Before the new stop sign was put in place, traffic heading west on Hwy. 154 (away from the town of Sharpsburg) didn't have to stop. Most motorists were taking a right to continue on Hwy. 154, but some were going straight across to Old Highway 16, and drivers making the left onto Hwy. 154 would sometimes pull out in front of those motorists.
A crash at the intersection in April resulted in a fatality.
Earlier this year, Coweta officials met with representatives of the Georgia Department of Transportation to discuss ways to improve safety at the intersection.
GDOT was willing to look into making an improvement, but had been resistant to adding a stop sign, according to Coweta County Administrator Michael Fouts.
"They want to keep traffic moving," Fouts said in July, and they were concerned that the stop sign would cause traffic to back up. At a Coweta County Board of Commissioners meeting in July, the commissioners voted to move forward with the first step in the possible improvement — surveying the intersection.
"Once GDOT received our request for a safety improvement and we provided them a survey of the right-of-way, they reacted in a very timely manner to plan and implement a temporary solution," Fouts said last week. "They will continue to review the data at this intersection for a permanent solution."
"I'm really excited that we've finally got a stop sign there," said Commission Chairman Bob Blackburn. "I think it is going to improve the safety of that intersection tremendously."
Blackburn said he is really proud of GDOT for what they have accomplished so quickly, with limited resources.
"I think they've done a heck of a job in getting it done," he said.
Blackburn said that down the road he'd love to see a traffic light at the intersection or, even better, a roundabout. "I think as the area grows there will be more traffic over time," Blackburn said. "If they would continue to look at it, we would appreciate it greatly."