State transportation officials say plans to renovate Dawson County’s busiest intersection are ahead of schedule.
The process to begin acquiring land at the crossing of Ga. 400 and Hwy. 53 could begin in the next six months, according to project manager Robert Murphy.
"Our right of way funding is scheduled for 2013, but I have asked our executive committee if we could fund the right of way early, which would put it in 2012," he said.
"It appears the executive committee is favorable to moving the funding up."
The DOT plans to convert the crossing to a two-legged continuous flow intersection.
A first for Georgia, the at-grade crossing 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.
The changes also include lengthened double left turn lanes both east and west on Ga. 53.
Murphy said a projected 68,000 vehicles will pass through the intersection each day by 2035.
"This will be able to handle the amount of traffic we’ll have," he said.
Other options have been considered for the crossing, including a $130 million "flyover," which would have elevated Ga. 400 traffic over Hwy. 53.
At an estimated $13 million, the current project is expected to cost significantly less and would not displace any nearby businesses, Murphy said.
Once the land has been acquired and final design phases are complete, the construction time would be about 18 months.
"I would anticipate if all of that goes through ... right of way is going to take us a year, maybe 18 months, to acquire," Murphy said. "Then we’d like to go to construction in early ’14."