GDOT responds to citizen concerns
Several RCUTs have already been installed and proven to be effective in
reducing crashes at the intersections
Work is still underway at the Highway 515/Antioch Road intersection, but should be wrapping up soon.
Changes to Highway 515 at Antioch Church Road are 90 percent complete. The Georgia Department of Transportation anticipates the project will significantly reduce the number of crashes at that intersection.
The state-funded project will bring an RCUT (also called a “U-Turn,” or “J-Turn) to the intersection. The design will change how traffic from a minor roadway (in this case Antioch Church Road) crosses a major highway (Highway 515). Antioch Road traffic will have to make a right-hand turn on the highway and use a U-turn located further down the highway to fully cross the
interstate or make a “left” onto the highway. For example, drivers who want to fully cross the main highway will turn right first, make a U-turn at the designated location, and then turn right onto the adjoining side road at the intersection.
A raised island in the center of the intersection will create this traffic flow. The island will be about as tall as a standard curb or raised island in the center of roundabouts.
Work at the north Pickens intersection began this January and is in last stages of completion with only a few punch list items left, as well as final work on a retaining wall. Construction cost is $1.55 million.
Some residents have expressed concern that the new traffic pattern will create more problems than it will solve. Others are concerned because they have heard this would be the first RCUT in Georgia at a high-speed intersection - but GDOT District Communications Officer Mohamed Arafa said that is not the case. He cited an intersection in Henry County that utilizes the same traffic flow.
“This RCUT at the intersection of SR 515 and Antioch Church Road is not the first in our great State of Georgia,” Arafa said. “Several RCUTs have already been installed and proven to be effective in reducing crashes at the intersections where they have been installed. One of these RCUTs is at the Intersection of SR 20 and Simpson Mill Road west of McDonough in Henry County installed in November 2015.”
Photo/Georgia Department of Transportation
An aerial photo of the RCUT intersection on SR 20 at Simpson Mill Road in Henry County that was completed 2015. This will be the same traffic configuration at the RCUT intersection of SR 515 and Antioch Church Road, which will have a raised median in the center.
GDOT tracked crashes at that intersection from December 2015 through October 2016 and within that 11-month period, only one collision occurred – down from 10 within the same period (2014-2015) prior to the RCUT installation. For the same study period, there have been only two injuries compared to 14 injuries prior to the RCUT. According to GDOT, research shows that RCUTs have decreased fatal crashes nationwide by 70 percent and injury crashes have declined by 42 percent.
“Upon completion, this intersection improvement project will improve the flow of traffic at the intersection of SR 515 with Antioch Church Road, while making it much safer,” Arafa said. “Just consider the fact that drivers from Antioch Church Road will no longer have to navigate the intersection with the 515 traffic traveling at high speed from both directions, which will decrease the frequency and severity of crashes.
In addition, the RCUT at this intersection will reduce delay and congestion for through traffic on 515 while reducing queuing on Antioch Church Road because vehicles do not have to wait for gaps in traffic traveling in two directions.”