SNELLVILLE - About $10,000 worth of striping could mean major improvements to traffic in Snellville's town center.
City officials are changing routes to some of the roads that connect traffic in the northeast quadrant of U.S. Highway 78 and Ga. Highway 124, City Manager Jeff Timler announced.
A portion of North Road - from Wisteria Drive to Oak Road - will become a one-way street in the next couple of months and a left-turn lane from Wisteria Road onto Ga. Highway 124 will be eliminated, he explained.
But the small amount of work could transform the traffic on North Road, which is often used as a reliever route to Ga. 124. The intersection with Wisteria rates an "F," but traffic engineers estimate the changes will improve the spot to a "C."
Timler said the city has received complaints for years about a bottleneck forming when people driving south on North Road attempt to turn left onto Wisteria.
Adding a left-turn signal there could cost more than 10 times as much as the striping, Timler said.
Plus, state transportation officials were concerned the time it took to stop people for the signal could cause traffic on Wisteria to back up to Ga. 124.
"We've looked at it for probably over a year now," he said. "You have to be careful with this. Restriping is the best and most viable option."
As part of the project, the city is closing an entrance to the U.S. Post Office along North Road. Adding a curb there will cost about $2,000, Timler said.
The left-turn lane from Wisteria onto Ga. 124 is also being eliminated. But most people use the light at Oak Road to turn left onto the highway, he added.
The quadrant has been chosen by the City Council as the area to build a town center for the city where one previously never existed. The new City Center is located along Oak Road while a live-work-play community is under construction on Wisteria.
But Timler said this project is all about traffic congestion.
"It's going to benefit both the residents and the customers," he said. "It's more of a congestion reliever."
Paula Pierce, who works at Sports Medicine of Atlanta nearby, said she wasn't aware of the city's plans.
"It's a mess there. They have to do something," she said. "I don't know if it will solve the problem, but traffic really backs up. It's way too much development."