Meeting addresses Georgia 365 safety concerns

A meeting was held recently to discuss safety concerns growing out of two recent well-publicized wrecks on Georgia 365 in Habersham.

Friday’s virtual meeting included State Sen. Bo Hatchett, State Reps. Victor Anderson and Chris Erwin, Habersham County and Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) officials to discuss current
plans and priorities and look toward future solutions.

That meeting followed a wreck the previous Sunday that claimed the lives of five people on Highway 365 at Mt. Zion Road near Alto, as well as a serious-injury Saturday wreck that injured seven on Highway 365 at Rock Road near the Stephens County line.

In addition to scores of posts with hundreds of comments on social media, many area residents have reached out to the Habersham County Board of Commissioners and local legislators to call for changes along the Highway 365 corridor.

Intersection modifications are costly, but Hatchett, Anderson, and Erwin said they realize their constituents want to see safety on the busy highway improved.

Anderson said while GDOT Rapid Response funding is limited, there may be other ways to look at funding some of the needed work.

An R-cut intersection that allows only right turns costs around $200,000 or so, while adding associated U-turn lanes costs around the same, meaning an intersection modification can cost more than $400,000.

Officials acknowledge the intersection at Mt. Zion Road is top priority, with Hatchett asking GDOT staff how quickly that project could go out for bids. An engineering, marking, and signage plan for improvements at that intersection is complete and ready for review for any needed modifications.

Once any necessary modifications are made to the plan, it can go out for bids — hopefully within a couple of months, GDOT staff told Hatchett.

Changes to intersections along Highway 365 or Georgia 15 (known locally as Expressway 441) fall under GDOT’s responsibility, meaning the state has final say on any changes and is responsible for funding the projects.

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