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DOT lowering speed limit along Ga. 400 in Dawson County

DAWSONVILLE — Forsyth County residents traveling Ga. 400 to Dawsonville, Dahlonega and points north take note — the speed limit on a stretch of the corridor in Dawson County will be lowered to 55 mph later this month. And the change will be permanent.

Dawson County Commission Chairman Mike Berg welcomed the news, which state transportation officials recently announced.

"We've requested this for years," Berg said. "There have been several fatal wrecks along the stretch, so we've wanted this to happen for a long time."

As of Feb. 16, the stretch of Ga. 400 from the Forsyth County line to about 1,015 feet north of Harmony Church Road will be lowered to 55 mph from 65 mph.

According to Berg, the lower speed limit is a permanent change. And it comes as transportation crews prepare to build a new continuous flow intersection at Ga. 400 and Hwy. 53.

Similar in principle to diverging diamond interchanges like those now in place at some busy points off Interstate 85 and 285, the continuous flow intersection is designed to move left-turning vehicles out of traffic's main flow. It does so by using a series of access roads and longer left-turn lanes.

The $14 million construction project will be the state's first continuous flow intersection. Construction is expected to take 18 months and will be staged so as not to disrupt traffic.

Once complete, DOT predicts traffic congestion will be reduced by 85 percent. The project end date is set for April 30, 2017.