Editor, I am writing to clarify the Georgia Department of Transportation’s policy on safety and turn lanes, specifically as it relates to commercial development such as that pending on U.S. Highway 84 near its interchange with Interstate 95 in Midway.
Promoting and assisting economic development is a key priority for Georgia DOT. The department has a long and successful record of working with local governments throughout the state in helping their existing businesses thrive while also providing a transportation system that helps attract new business and industry.
Our absolute highest priority, however, always is the safety of those who utilize that system. It is incumbent upon highly frequented businesses like fast-food restaurants that are locating new facilities on busy highways to also provide safe access — often in the form of a turn lane into their establishment — for the safety and convenience of their patrons and everyone using the affected highway. U.S. 84 is a principal arterial connector to I-95. It carries some 6,000 vehicles per day. Department studies of previous such establishments indicate this proposed restaurant/gasoline-station complex likely will draw an estimated 1,700 vehicles per day.
Public safety, good business judgment, common sense and yes, department policy, mandate a turn lane.
— Karon Ivery
GDOT district five engineer