A big change in traffic flow came Monday night to one of the area’s busiest intersections.
The Georgia Department of Transportation converted Ga. 400 at Ga. 53 in Dawson County from a traditional intersection to Georgia’s first “continuous flow” intersection.
Basically, drivers will be able to make left turns before the two roads cross, with separate lanes carrying them out of straight-through traffic. Staying in the designated lanes, which will be signalized, they’ll be able to complete left turns.
Drivers would turn right from Ga. 53 onto Ga. 400 much as they would enter an interstate, merging with traffic as they complete the turn.
The shift was made late last night to “allow Georgia DOT staff and contractors to be in the lanes removing barrels and checking on the aspects of the intersection with minimal traffic impacts,” district engineer Brent Cook said in a press release.
Drivers will still see barrels and cones around work zone areas near the intersection, but those are expected to be cleared by the middle of June.
The “innovated design is a great cost saver,” the press release states. “The capacity of this type of intersection rivals a full interstate-style interchange. This also leaves a smaller impact to the area, as there are no ramps or overpasses constructed.”
Overpasses were being considered but were ruled out due to cost and disruption of traffic, as the work was estimated to cost $150 million or more.
The DOT unveiled the official plan for the intersection early in 2010, and it was projected to cost about $14 million.
Even so, DOT officials said in last week’s press release, public meetings “revealed that an interchange was not a favored option by the community.”
This story will be updated later today.