Hwy. 54, Gordon Rd. intersection closed for safety project
by Sarah Fay Campbell
Crossing Ga. Hwy. 54 on Gordon Road can be one of the scariest maneuvers in Coweta County. Thanks to a dip in Hwy. 54, it can be hard to see whether a vehicle is coming down the highway.
But drivers won’t have to contend with that safety issue any more.
On Monday, road work began on a project that will raise the grade of Hwy. 54 by 16 feet from its lowest point, fixing the sight distance problem. A short section of Hwy. 54 north of the intersection is expected to be closed for 60 days.
The Georgia Department of Transportation has posted a detour that keeps drivers on state routes, but it is long — sending drivers to Sharpsburg, Newnan and Luthersville in order to get around the short closure.
But there are two simpler and shorter detours available to local drivers. Those traveling on Hwy. 54 can take Tope Road to Cannon Road, Moore Road, and Gordon Road, or Bertus Hunter Road to Sid Hunter Road to Gordon Road, depending on which side of Gordon Road they are on.
Signs indicating the local detours should be installed in the next few days, according to Tod Handley, Coweta’s director of transportation and engineering.
The intersection was “recognized at least 10 years ago as a candidate for a safety improvement project,” Handley said.
It was originally among the projects that were to be funded through money given to the county for participating in the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority’s Xpress Bus system.
But the house and outbuildings on the northwest corner of the intersection are historic, and that led to some problems with the state’s funding. So the decision was made several years ago to transfer the money earmarked for the Hwy. 54 project to the Pine Road intersection improvement project. The Hwy. 54 project is now being paid for with funds from the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax.
A small amount of right-of-way on the historic property had to be obtained, and some trees were removed, but the house and outbuildings themselves were not affected.
Raising the roadbed was one option for improving visibility. The other was “lowering the grade at the top of the hill,” Handley said. However, that would have required closing the entire intersection, not just a portion of Hwy. 54. With Gordon Road remaining open, it makes things a lot easier for people traveling in the area.
McKoy Grading is the contractor for the project.