Sweeping changes at Dawson County's busiest intersection has at least one national eatery planning a move away from the crossing.
"We are looking to move," said Jamie Smith, manager at the McDonalds located at 50 Hwy. 400 South. "No land has been purchased yet, but McDonalds Corporate is planning to move the restaurant."
Construction is set to begin in spring on the state's first continuous flow intersection at Ga. 400 and Hwy. 53.
Similar in principle to diverging diamond interchanges like those now in place at some busy Interstate 85 and 285 interchanges, the project is designed to move left-turning vehicles out of traffic's main flow by using a series of access roads and longer left-turn lanes.
According to information released in a Georgia Department of Transportation video, motorists traveling on Ga. 400 would follow traffic signaling devices directing them to drive across the oncoming lanes into new lanes on the far left side of the road.
Another left-turn signal then will prompt drivers to complete the left turn on Hwy. 53.
The changes would make getting to McDonalds from Ga. 400 more difficult, according to Smith.
"There would be no entrance," he said.
Described as the most economic option at an estimated $9.5 million, the department of transportation has purchased 32 plots of land needed to complete the crossing.
A single business, according to DOT district spokeswoman Teri Pope, will be displaced by the changes.
"Only one of the parcels was a commercial relocation. GDOT purchased the entire parcel and building from the owner," she said.
While she would not name the business that will move, Pope did say it sits on the corner of Lumpkin Campground Road and Ga. 53.
There have been discussions about Kroger relocating south on Ga. 400 to one of the future retail centers planned on Dawson Forest Road, though officials with the grocer declined to comment on the matter.
"I...cannot comment on speculation and rumors regarding a new Dawsonville store," Public Relations Director Glynn Jenkins wrote in an email on Monday.
Once complete, DOT predicts traffic congestion will be reduced by 85 percent.
Construction is expected to take 18 months to complete and would be staged so as not to disrupt traffic.