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New traffic light on Bannister Road to turn on next week
Bannister 2 WEB

NORTH FORSYTH -- After being held up for months, a north Forsyth traffic light is expected to turn on next week.

The traffic signal at the intersection of Dahlonega Highway (Hwy. 9) and Bannister Road should have power by Wednesday, March 1, according to Tim Allen, assistant director of the Traffic and Transportation Engineering Department.

While originally scheduled to begin flashing Wednesday and to be fully operational by the end of this week, Allen said the Georgia Department of Transportation decided to postpone the switch until next week.

The intersection has caused issues for nearby residents after the light was hung but not turned on as work was underway to move utility lines belonging to a private company and to install crosswalks to meet Georgia Department of Transportation standards.

“If I had a checklist that has 50 items on it, this was up there in the top three of projects that needed to get done,” Mills said. “I have had just an enormous amount of complaints – that have been justified. I don’t even know the amount of accidents that have occurred even since that red light has been hanging there and we’ve been trying to get it turned on.”

The project was approved as part of a special one-cent sales tax program.

In July 2016, the light was expected to open by September of that year.

“It just seemed like every way a mistake could happen it was happening,” Mills said of the setbacks. “Finally, everyone did pull together at the end, all the different facets that were involved came together and started working and started communicating. They all rose to the occasion and got it done.”

Though the signal was not deemed necessary by engineering standards, which require a certain burden, number of accidents or other traffic concern to warrant a study to determine if a change is needed, Mills said public outcry and accidents made it a priority.

“The accidents are what got it approved,” she said. “It didn’t meet warrants, but because of the accidents it was approved because it was such a dangerous intersection.”