New Dixie Highway Project entering critical stage
Crews on The New Dixie Highway Project will begin installing medians next week between Upper Hunters Trace and Heaton Road. This means the crews are launching a critical part of the project almost a month ahead of schedule.
By installing medians, The New Dixie Highway Project will restrict mid-block left turns – and guide drivers to turn at signalized intersections or designated U-turn points. Installing medians is both the most transformative part of The New Dixie Highway project – but also the most dangerous for workers because they will be working in the middle of the roadway with traffic on both sides.
“In the long run, medians will prevent accidents and safety is our first priority,” said John Callihan, project manager of The New Dixie Highway Project. “But in the short-term, this is a dangerous part of the construction process and we ask for extra vigilance from drivers during this phase of the project.”
Crews had been expecting to start work on medians in June, but recent favorable weather conditions meant they were able to complete sidewalk and gutter work between Upper Hunters Trace and Heaton Road ahead of schedule. They will begin median work in that same section of roadway as soon as possible, sometime during the week of May 6.
During median installation, the interior lane immediately adjacent to the work will be closed in each direction. Work will be happening in more than one location at a time. As one section is complete, work will move to a new section, meaning that drivers should stay alert as lane closures may change without notice.
The New Dixie Highway Project broke ground in December of 2017 and all the major components will be complete by December of 2019. Some final parts of project – such as landscaping and final surfacing – require warm weather and will be completed in the summer of 2020.
Medians will be “non-mountable” so passenger vehicles cannot drive over them. Widths will vary with available space, with landscaping at key locations. While it may seem counter-intuitive to drivers, restricting mid-block left-turns creates not only a safer corridor, but a more efficient corridor. While some drivers will have to drive slightly further to reach their destination, the improved efficiency and reduction in accident-related congestion will mean a better traffic flow for everyone.
About the New Dixie Highway Project
The New Dixie Highway Project is a $35 million investment to improve safety, mobility and livability along the corridor. The project will concentrate on three major areas of improvement:
- Roadway safety and design improvements, including raised medians and left-hand-only turn lanes along the most congested and dangerous section (Crums Lane to Greenwood Road).
- A new Intelligent Transportation System that will improve and coordinate traffic signal timing along the entire corridor.
- The region’s first TARC bus rapid transit route, with eight priority buses and 37 highly visible bus stations and stops that will improve travel times for both transit riders and drivers.
Follow progress on the New Dixie Highway at TheNewDixieHighway.com; on Facebook (search for The New Dixie Highway), and on Twitter @NewDixieHighway or Instagram: @newdixiehwy