Lowndes County: RCUT Proposed for Bemiss Road Intersection

Staff Report From Valdosta CEO

Friday, April 10th, 2020

A Reduced Conflict U-Turn (RCUT) is proposed on State Route (SR) 125/Bemiss Road at the intersection of Huntley Drive in Valdosta to move peak traffic efficiently and safely.

The RCUT would prevent Huntley Drive traffic from turning left. A 425-foot raised continuous curb topped with reflective bollards would be installed to block left turns. Bollards are sturdy vertical posts used to control traffic. Huntley Drive motorists would turn right, travel about 1,000 feet and make a U-turn to travel south on Bemiss Road. This would be the only change to the intersection.

Georgia Department of Transportation has done five previous traffic engineering studies of the intersection and recently completed the sixth at the request of city officials. The study is required to determine if the location meets the requirements for a stop and go traffic signal. Bemiss Road at Huntley Drive has never met the requirements.

“This location does not have the traffic volume to qualify for a signal but the RCUT will benefit drivers and help with traffic flow. Drivers won't have to navigate an intersection with traffic coming from both directions,” District Engineer Van Mason said.

An RCUT is installed to reduce angle collisions at a divided highway intersection with a minor street approach. Nine crashes were reported from January 2016 to July 2019 at Bemiss Road and Huntley Drive. Seven were angle crashes. The intersection had an average crash rate of three per year from 2016 through 2018. No fatalities were reported.

RCUTs nationally have reduced fatal crashes by 70 percent and injury crashes by 42 percent. Georgia's first RCUT was installed in November 2015 at SR 20 and Simpson MIll Road west of McDonough in Henry County. Eleven angle crashes were reported there in the 12 months before the RCUT was installed. In the six months following installation only one angle collision occurred and it involved a driver on SR 20 turning left onto the minor road. No crashes were reported in U-turn maneuvers required by the RCUT.

An RCUT also will eliminate drivers stopping in the current median opening.

"Drivers making left turns are attempting to go around vehicles stopped in the median, causing confusion within the intersection," District Traffic Engineer Randy Rathburn said.

The proposed design must be approved by the State Transportation Office and the chief engineer. The RCUT would be a Quick Response Project. These projects typically cost less than $200,000 and can be completed in a short period of time. The money comes from the state motor fuel tax and is primarily used for small operational improvements and safety and maintenance projects on the state route system. Construction of the RCUT is estimated to cost less than $60,000 and likely would not begin until 2021.