(Marietta, GA - Aug. 10, 2016) After Aug. 22, motorists traveling along Windy Hill Road will no longer have access to the center turn lane, from U.S. 41/Cobb Parkway to Circle 75 Parkway, while the lane is permanently closed and converted into a raised median. Motorists will be able to make left-hand turns only at signalized intersections.
The lane-to-median conversion along the heavily-traveled, half-mile stretch of road is one of the $48 million traffic and safety improvement projects along the 1.43-mile stretch of Windy Hill Road, from U.S. 41/Cobb Parkway to Powers Ferry Road.
“The center lane in that particular section of Windy Hill Road has been dangerous for years. It has been called the ‘suicide lane’ because drivers can enter the center lane from either direction, causing an accident,” said Jim Wilgus, director of the Cobb County Department of Transportation. “The raised medians eliminate the suicide lane and will create a safer environment for motorists.”
The biggest change for drivers, besides the closure of the center lane, is making controlled, but safe, left-hand turns only at signalized intersections. Left-hand turns, along this section of Windy Hill Road, will be accessible at Windy Hill Village Shopping Center, North Park Place and South Park Place.
High Crash Data
Planning for the project began in 2011 after a 2010 Summary of Crash and Injury Data & Comparison to Statewide Rates Report showed crash rates on Windy Hill Road, from U.S. 41/Cobb Parkway to I-75, to be three times greater than statewide crash rates. Injury rates were double the statewide rates. The data showed crash and injury rates would remain well above the statewide rates unless corrective safety measures were taken, stating traffic in the high-density office, residential and commercial development area have increased steadily since the 1980s population boom, resulting in heavy congestion and a high volume of crashes caused by motorists attempting to cut across middle lanes to reach the I-75 on-ramp or to make left-hand turns into businesses.
Watch for Crews
The center lane will be closed to all traffic with construction cones and large vehicles preventing motorists from entering. Construction will take approximately nine months to complete and will require road crews to work in close proximity to moving traffic.
“We really appreciate the public’s patience along Windy Hill, and we have one more favor to ask,” said Wilgus. “Please drive safely and pay attention in heavy construction zones. Taking two to three more minutes of your time to go to the signalized light goes a long way in making sure all our crews and other motorists go home to their families at night. It’s dangerous out there, but this project will make the corridor much safer.”
The $48 million traffic and safety improvements are comprised of five multi-faceted projects that include widening roads, adding medians, widening intersections, constructing the Diverging Diamond Interchange and replacing sidewalks. Once complete, the projects will enhance motorist and pedestrian safety, increase traffic flow and decrease congestion. The majority of construction is expected to be completed in spring 2017.
For updates and more information about the upcoming Windy Hill Road Projects, visit www.cobbdot.org.
For media inquiries:
Cobb County Department of Transportation