Sugarloaf Parkway Exit Design Flawed
Planned interchange at Highway 316 poses dangers for motorists.
As I understand it, Section 3b - the final contract of the Sugarloaf Parkway extension to Highway 316 - will soon be let. This contract will include a Dacula interchange.
I am told that if you are coming up Sugarloaf Parkway and wish to exit at Highway 316 then make a left hand turn at Harbins Road to perhaps go see "Mr. Mayor" in Dacula, you will have approximately 2,600 feet in which to do so.
Picture this. You are coming up Sugarloaf, you exit on 316, you're heading east toward Athens and you plan to turn left onto Harbins and head towards Dacula.
Have you ever waited at the red light on either side of Harbins Road and watched those big tractor-trailers heading toward Athens at 65 mph? Think about this now that you have the picture.
You are going to come off Sugarloaf and have 2,600 feet to cut across two lanes of 65 mph traffic if the eastbound traffic has a "high ball" via a green light at Harbins and 316. You will also be competing with traffic coming down 316 that wishes to make a right hand turn onto Harbins Road.
This got me to thinking that if I am still driving when the interchange is completed, there is no way I would exit onto 316 and make a left turn at Harbins to go toward Dacula unless there are some changes made.
I have already made up my mind that if I want to go to Dacula, I will exit at the interchange being built at Campbell Road, make my way over to Alcovy Road, turn off Alcovy onto West Drowning Creek Road, make a left turn at Harbins Road and go straight across at the traffic light at 316 and Harbins Road. If I am going to err, I will always err on the side of caution.
I remember a couple of years back going to a meeting at Dacula City Hall. At that time, Wal-Mart was proposing to build a super center store on Harbins Road at West Drowning Creek Road. There was consideration, at that time, being given to improving Alcovy, West Drowning Creek and Harbins Roads to better facilitate not only the Wal-Mart traffic, but also the traffic flow at Alcova School and the GCPD precinct. These improvements would have necessitated a traffic light at Harbins Road and West Drowning Creek Road. May be time to dust off those plans and see if same could be incorporated into the contract on Section 3b.
Exit 316 into 65 mph traffic? Cross two lanes of 65 mph traffic to make a left turn at 316 and Harbins Road? Approximately 2,600 feet in which to effect my turn? No sir, that's a left turn best made by a driver on the NASCAR circuit. That the way I see it.