Residents living near County Line Road, Mehaffey Road or across the Muscogee County line are beginning to realize they aren’t far enough from downtown Columbus to avoid snarled traffic in the area.
Just one week before the start of schools in Muscogee and Harris counties on Aug. 7, a reader is concerned about a morning traffic jam at County Line and Mehaffey roads. Residents are pouring out of the neighborhoods of Garrett Creek, Garrett Pines and Blackburn Ridge but get snarled at County Line as they attempt a left turn and enter Manchester Expressway.
Motorists from the neighborhoods along Mehaffey are contending with commuters from Liberty Hall and others along County Line Road east to the lower end of Central Church Road. Talk to some Liberty Hall residents traveling west on Countyline and they will tell you that it’s too dangerous to stop and let anyone turn from Mehaffey Road because the traffic behind them is moving really fast although the speed limit is reduced to 30-mph.
“I hope the city would consider putting a roundabout or a four-way stop in this area,” the reader said. “In fact, the school buses have a hard time getting out onto County Line Road also. This area has grown in population since I moved here 11 years ago and more homes are being built daily.”
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A roundabout is a circular intersection that requires motorists to travel counter clockwise around a center island. There are no traffic signals or stop signs for this traffic-reducing design. County Line Road may not be suitable for a roundabout because the intersection is near a winding curve, the area is hilly instead of flat and the two-lane road is narrow.
Adding to the traffic problem, motorists turning onto Mehaffey Road from County Line frequently fail to signal while driving children to Mathews Elementary on Lynch Road and Aaron Cohn Middle School on Garrett Road.
The growing traffic in the area is new to city officials. “That is really the first I’ve heard of it,” said Rick Jones, director of the Planning Department for the Columbus Consolidated Government. “We’ll have to go down and look at it to see what needs to be done. I don’t have an immediate answer for that.”
Jones said he didn’t know of an immediate solution in the area. He also is not so sure about the suggestion of a roundabout to ease traffic problems.
“What I remember about that area, I’m not sure the roundabout would be feasible at this time,” Jones said. “I just don’t know.”
Traffic engineer Alex Laffey hadn’t heard of any traffic issues but was informed later about some difficulties during peak hours in the afternoon. Traffic counts show that County Line handles about 1,500 vehicles daily, he said.
With new reports about traffic in the area, Laffey said new counts will be conducted and he will take a look at the area. “I have ordered new counts at this intersection for a traffic engineering study,” Laffey said.
If you have seen something that needs attention, give me a call.