ROCK SPRING, Ga. — A traffic signal and turn lanes will be installed at one of Walker County's most accident-prone intersections: Kay Conley Road and U.S. Highway 27.
"It's coming soon," Georgia Department of Transportation area engineer Devon Brooks said. "I think people are really looking forward to this project."
"There's a lot of crashes there, so that is going to be a major safety improvement," she said.
The intersection is at the bottom of a hill. Now there's a flashing yellow light on U.S. 27 and a flashing red light and stop signs on Kay Conley.
The Transportation Department will pay $421,000 to Peachtree City, Ga.-based JHC Corp. to install a traffic signal, new right turn lanes on each side of U.S. 27 and a northbound right turn lane on Kay Conley.
"Good," said Ricky Barnes, who was delivering Frito-Lay snacks last week to the Kangaroo Express gas station at the intersection. "People fly down through this. They're speeding all the time."
LaFayette, Ga., resident Ashley Tyler saw a northbound car get rear-ended about a year ago near the Kangaroo Express.
"I was right here when they hit each other," she said. "The back end of the car got smashed."
When told of the new traffic signal and turn lanes, Tyler said, "I think it's pretty smart."
Walker County Coordinator David Ashburn said the Transportation Department had resisted installing a traffic signal at the intersection because there's one about a quarter of a mile south on U.S. 27 at state Route 95.
"We've been begging for it for 12 years," Ashburn said of the Kay Conley traffic signal. "That's a heavy area for wrecks."
He expects the work to include handicap-accessible crosswalks with pedestrian crossing lights -- even though there's no sidewalk nearby.
Walker County Sole Commissioner Bebe Heiskell said senior citizen housing is under construction on Kay Conley near the intersection.
"I am very happy, very pleased," Heiskell said, that the intersection's getting signals and improvements.
The work has to be finished by March 2014, Brooks said, but it should get under way soon and mostly should be finished by October.
Contact staff writer Tim Omarzu at email@example.com or 423-757-6651.
Tim Omarzu covers education for the Times Free Press. Omarzu is a longtime journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor at daily and weekly newspapers in Michigan, Nevada and California.