Cinderella Hills residents say new median is dangerous

Cinderella Hills residents say new median is dangerous

August 15th, 2011 by Andy Johns in News

Neighbors gather at the mouth of Cinderella Hills Road to discuss the dangers that they feel by having to make a U-turn on Cloud Springs Road to turn left out of their neighborhood. The widening of Cloud Springs includes a median that blocks their access to and from Cinderella Hills Road.

Photo by Jenna Walker /Times Free Press.

RINGGOLD, Ga. -- Most Catoosa County residents are enchanted by the idea of an improved Cloud Springs Road, but residents of Cinderella Hills subdivision say the improvements have turned into a pumpkin.

"I've never seen a mess like this," said Jo Anne Lyons, who moved to Cinderella Hills Drive in 1965 when it was still a dirt road.

Heavily congested Cloud Springs Road recently was widened to four lanes with a median, which is broken in spots to allow drivers on side streets to turn right or left.

But not in front of Cinderella Hills Drive, which residents say forces them to make dangerous U-turns to get to Fort Ogle-thorpe or get home from the interstate.

"We want that median out of here," said Cinderella Hills resident Cherise Miller.

County officials, however, have another solution. County Manager Mike Helton said state engineers will not allow another crossing on the road, which is also called State Highway 146. The county has plans to open up Sandra Drive, which would link the neighborhood with Dietz Road less than a mile from the stoplight where Dietz intersects Cloud Springs.

Helton said the new link would be open as soon as work crews receive and install large speed humps on Dietz to slow down drivers over a blind hill just before the intersection with Sandra.

"We know there are problems," Helton said. "Open up Sandra: That's our first priority."

But the humps are only a temporary fix. Helton said that within a year, the goal is to have the hill south of Sandra leveled to improve visibility.

But resident Karl LaRoche is skeptical.

"How many years is it really going to be?" he asked.

Residents initially were told the Cloud Springs Road widening project would start in 1996 and be finished by 1999. The widening work is only now ending.

Helton said the money already has been secured to do the work.

"Funding is not going to be an issue," he said. "We're hoping it won't be too long."

The Cinderella Hills subdivision has about 135 houses.

Resident Tom Pierce said the turn to reach Cinderella Hills will be increasingly dangerous in a few weeks when school starts back. The area is zoned for Fort Oglethorpe schools, meaning the bus drivers might have to deal with a U-turn depending on the route.

"There's a lot of children that come out of this subdivision that ride the buses," Pierce said.

LaRoche said his van was almost clipped by a car last week, but none of the neighbors was aware of an accident.

"That traffic doesn't do you any favors," LaRoche said.