Last week the county took steps to improve the safety of drivers turning left off Dallas Highway into The Avenue West Cobb shopping mall.
The number of accidents involving vehicles turning left into The Avenue have averaged about nine per year since 2009, and that triggered the county’s effort. Transportation standards call for further review when there are six or more left-turning accidents per year.
Until now, westbound drivers on Dallas Highway who turned left into the shopping mall risked colliding with eastbound traffic.
County Chairman Tim Lee said there wasn’t sufficient distance for the drivers turning into the mall to see the oncoming eastbound traffic. The county changed the light signal to only allow drivers to turn left when the eastbound traffic has come to a full stop.
“Like any issue like that it will increase congestion but the improved safety outweighed the increased congestion that may occur at that intersection,” Lee said.
A similar problem was occurring at the intersection of Dallas Highway and Casteel Road.
“Both of these intersections now have new protected left-only signals as installed last week,” county spokesman Robert Quigley said.
The changes cost about $5,000 per intersection.
The Georgia Department of Transportation will also extend the left-turn lanes at The Avenue to create more space for cars waiting to make the turn, a change that should be completed later this year.
The county is also seeking state approval to make the same change to the light at Dallas Highway and Bob Cox Road.
Reducing the speed limit from 55 to 45 mph is another request the county has made to GDOT, which must approve it since it is a state road.
“We believe a lower speed limit will give drivers more time to see and react to other cars in the area in order to avoid collisions,” Quigley said.
Since The Avenue opened in 2003, one death occurred at the Dallas Highway intersection on May 15. Another death occurred at the Casteel Road intersection in 2011 and a third occurred further down Dallas Highway at West Sandtown Road in 2011, Quigley said.