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Beginning this week, citizens traveling the stretch of Hansell Street between Smith Avenue and Broad Street will notice a new addition to their commute: a new traffic signal. The signal, placed at the intersection of Hansell Street and Colton Avenue, is designed to help citizens navigate the difficult turning conditions when crossing on to Hansell Street from Colton Avenue.

Assistant City Engineer Wayne Newsome said that the signal will greatly improve safety conditions for those coming from Colton Avenue.

“Due to grades on Hansell associated with the underpass, it is not possible to see southbound vehicles approaching the intersection from Smith Avenue,” Newsome said. “If there are southbound vehicles sitting in the left turn lane on Hansell Street, it is impossible for vehicles turning left on to Hansell Street from Colton Avenue to see oncoming vehicles.”

The new signal is funded by 2012 SPLOST funds which were earmarked for the Multi-Use trail. It will become fully operational the morning of Thursday, May 19, 2016. Until that time, the signal will function as a caution light. Electronic message boards have also been placed on either side of the new signal to help motorists become aware of the change in traffic conditions.

A traffic study performed by the Georgia Department of Transportation found that the average daily traffic volume passing through this section of Hansell Street is approximately 11,000 vehicles per day.

“One of the key factors in deciding that a signal was needed at this intersection was the finding that there are no gaps in the traffic stream with regard to hourly traffic volumes,” Newsome said. “So the compelling issues for a traffic signal here are twofold: to address sight distance and visibility for left turning vehicles from Colton onto Hansell Street; and to provide protection for pedestrian and bicycle traffic that would cross at this location.”

While the traffic signal will present stop conditions periodically for vehicles traveling on Hansell Street, overall it is expected to have a minimal impact on the flow of traffic in the area.

“The signal timings are set up to maximize green time for northbound and southbound traffic on Hansell Street,” Newsome explained. “Traffic detection loops have been installed for the southbound, left turn lane on Hansell, and Colton Avenue’s left turn lane.”

“Green times for Colton Avenue have been minimized to the extent possible,” he added.

The new signal also features a pedestrian crossing which was necessary due to the high volume of traffic passing through the intersection.

“This intersection, in addition to being congested with vehicle traffic, serves as the access point for the section of the Multi-Use Trail that spans between Cherokee Lake Park and Paradise Park,” Newsome said. “This solution will improve safety and traffic flow for motorists and pedestrians with as little inconvenience as possible.”


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