Have your say about planned changes to 54-74 intersection

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A screen grab from the Georgia DOT video explaining the Snellville, Ga. displaced left turn reconfiguration that went into effect in summer 2019.
A screen grab from the Georgia DOT video explaining the Snellville, Ga. displaced left turn reconfiguration that went into effect in summer 2019.

State DOT to unveil reconstruction plans for Fayette’s biggest traffic jam — 

Some can remember when the junction of Ga. highways 54 and 74 was a four-way stop, no traffic light and very little traffic. That would have been early January 1977.

Skip forward 43 years to today. In the early days of January 2020, drivers from both Fayette and Coweta counties have little good to say about the traffic mess that intersection has now become.

With turn lanes, it’s now eight lanes across where the busy roads intersect, and during morning and evening rush hours — and sometimes even at midday — traffic backs up going all four ways for blocks, awaiting multiple light cycles. X marks the spot where police watch to ticket drivers who “block the box” — the ones who get caught in the middle of the intersection when the light turns red and they have no place to go.

The Georgia Department of Transportation — the agency in charge of any changes to that intersection — is coming to the Peachtree City Library Thursday, Jan. 23, for two hours from 5 to 7 p.m. to hear from interested citizens about how it plans to improve traffic flow in all directions with something called a “displaced left turn.”

“The informal event will provide information on the planned reconstruction of the Highway 54/74 intersection to include a Displaced Left Turn. While there will be no formal presentation, the public is invited to attend any time during the open house to view the project, ask questions, and comment,” according to the city’s notice of that hearing to the public.

The upshot of the displaced left turn is that it adds a much longer left turn lane — or two lanes, in some cases — that actually crosses the lanes carrying traffic heading in the opposite direction. It means months-long construction of new lanes in addition to the ones already there, and that will impact businesses on all sides of the busy commercial area.

Snellville drivers met that new trend in traffic movement this past summer, and the DOT created a video to help drivers figure out how the thing works (at 2:05 into the 4:21 video). If you’re stuck in traffic at the intersection, you can view the entire video while waiting for your chance to sprint across the X-box (but remember: Only if your viewing device is hands-free).

If you can’t make the hearing or you want to provide more information to the DOT, “written comments may be sent to Mr. Eric Duff, State Environment Administrator, 600 West Peachtree St NW, Floor 16, Atlanta, GA 30308,” the city notice says.

6 COMMENTS

  1. They need to build on overpass and they can make it look similar to the golf cart overpass just east of that intersection. In my opinion turning lanes are not going to solve the problem as both Peachtree City and Newnan are going to continue to grow. It was poor planning not to leave more room at the intersection for growth.

  2. The end is here, Hwy 54 and Hwy 74 interchange has long exceeded its capacity. SO GIVE UP TRYING TO FIX IT!!!!!
    Everyone needs to calm down and just face the facts, PTC and the county have grown bigger and faster then projected. With only ONE major East to West road in the entire county what did anyone expect?
    You can add lanes, shift lanes, retime traffic lights until the traffic comes to a standstill and you will have the same problem/result Hwy 54 and Hwy 74.
    It is time to bite the bullet and look into another one or two East- West roads in the county.
    Extend Roads from Fayette County into Cpweta (Dogwood Trail to Fisher Road) or even Hwy 74 to Coweta (74 in the area of Crosstown to 54).
    While we are at it, how about increasing Collinsworth Road/ Palmetto Road to Hwy 74?
    There are answers, and it is NOT RE-ENGINEERING HWY 54 &HWY74, AGAIN.
    How did the new light at Linecreek work out? No new impact on traffic they said…………………..

  3. You know what, this thing could actually work. I used to see all the reasons it would not, but after looking at the video I can see it working smoothly with one slight adjustment.

    If all the traffic lights on west 54 were set on blinking yellow on 54 and blinking red on the side streets during AM and PM rush hour – say 5-9 am and 4-6 pm, then commuters would get thru the intersection without delay. Of course the Planterra and McDuff residents would have to use their alternate exits and the merchants especially restaurant owners would squeal like stuck pigs, but if you just analyze it from a traffic only point of view like engineers do – this thing could work.

    The current traffic problem is that a very high volume of traffic has to stop multiple times for a small number of people making left-hand turns. This solution speeds up the same volume of traffic by totally eliminating left-hand turns during rush hour. Think about it – the traffic moves constantly east to west and west to east except for the AM left turners onto 74 N in the AM and that should only be 1 minute every 5 minutes.

    Of course this takes creative thinking and cooperation between city and state and business owners making compromises instead of threatening to vote against local pols who do think creatively, so this is probably an non-starter. At least it is something to think about while you are sitting there waiting for one or more of those lights th change.