New traffic pattern for busy Burke County intersection

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One of the busiest intersections in Burke County will be different for drivers starting Thursday at 10 AM.

A new traffic light goes live Thursday morning at the intersection of Mike Padgett Highway and River Road near the Burke and Richmond County line

More than 6 thousand vehicles travel through the area everyday. Many of them come from all over the region and the state because of Plant Votgle.

The Georgia Department of Transportation’s Kyle Collins explains what you should be aware of before you head that way.

“You’ve never had a traffic signal at river road and state route 56 before,” Collins points out.

A new traffic light might seem like a small thing, but there are a lot of big trucks that barrel through there each day. Also, the signal is around a blind curve as you come from one way and at the bottom of a blind hill as you come from the other direction.

“You see that kind of advanced signal head,” Collins says as he points to a traffic light high in the air that drivers can see when they come around the curve. “Now when I’m turning the corner coming from Richmond County I can see that because you’re coming around a big curve, you may not be able to see a signal because you’ve never seen a signal there,” Collins explains.

Collins says DOT says they added additional safety signals at the top of the hill on the Waynesboro side as well.

“You see up on the hill, as soon as you top the hill there was caution flashers added to say, hey, there’s a traffic signal at the bottom of the hill, be aware, you might want to slow down,” Collins says.

The number of accidents, and deadly ones at that, make River Road one of the top three most dangerous in the county. The Burke County Sheriff’s office counted 95 accidents in the area in 2018.

“In concert with the widening job, going from 2 to 4 lanes, we think it’s going to be a lot safer and a much better product for everybody. Everything we do is based on safety so it definitely should reduce the likelihood for severe incidents,” Collins says.

The additional lanes from the Richmond County line to SR23 will open Thursday morning as well.

This construction is the first of a three phase project that you voted to be paid for with TSPLOST money. The second and third phase include widening Mike Padgett as you head into Waynesboro.

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