The Winds of Scooch: Trenton Mayor Gives a Roadwork Update

Scooch! The contractor chosen by GDOT to scooch Trenton's central intersection over toward the Ingle's probably won't get around to it until the summer, so meanwhile the intersection was restriped to reflect the scooching action required of drivers to stay in their lane.

The Dade Planet apologizes for the above scooch-heavy cutline. Trenton Mayor Alex Case made extensive use of the verb "scooch" in roadwork reports he made both at the Dade County Commission meeting on Thursday and the Trenton City Commission on Monday, and it is possible The Planet is undergoing a certain word infatuation with it.

According to the online Urban Dictionary, to scooch is "to move the buttocks over, around or up and down," though Merriam-Webster defines it either as a synonym for "crouch" or "to move in or pass through a tight or narrow space." No. 2 seems not to fit here but both the first and third definitions appear applicable. No. 1's reference to buttocks might seem to make it less so but it is, anyway, vaguely transitive, whereas No. 3 appears to be intransitive; and in any case The Planet would be hard put to pass up a crack at the word "buttocks." Can we just settle here for a general sense of moving, pushing or, more broadly, changing?

Ahem. As to that roadwork:

Mayor Case reported that, as most residents will have no doubt noticed, GDOT (the Georgia Department of Transportation) has restriped Trenton's central intersection--the junction of Highway 136 West and Highway 11 in front of Ingle's Market--to address the weird wiggling dog-leg drivers are required to make going south. This is the one that out-of-towners never get right and that natives never stop complaining about, and which local officials say has historically caused about a fender-bender a week.

The striping is a Band-Aid fix, but the mayor says it's only phase 1.

"The next phase of it is taking south of Ingle's Drive and 136 and scooching it over toward the Ingle's to make it straighten up," said the mayor Thursday night.

This is the major fix that has been discussed for over a year, with occasional controversial mentions of a roundabout, said the mayor. From the mayor's remarks both on Thursday and Monday, the intersection will not get a roundabout but will instead merely be scooched to make wider turns by larger vehicles less problematic.

"When is it going to happen?" asked Case. "That's a question for GDOT."

GDOT had indicated to The Planet for a January story on this pressing matter that the anticipated complete date was July 1.

Case also addressed the wait times at the traffic light at that intersection, which he says he's heard way too much about recently. Dade County Executive at the Thursday meeting said he had, too. "I've gotten more calls on that little issue than I did when we had a tax increase," said Rumley.

Case said both he and Rumley had called GDOT about the problem. "We do it together, united as a city and a county, to make sure we hear our citizens' complaints and take care of it," said the mayor.

He said a GDOT engineer had promised to look into it, but he also indicated that the problem seemed to have come about because sensors had not been embedded in the asphalt. They won't be, he said, until the project is complete.

The county and city pave and maintain county and city roads, but GDOT, the state agency, is in charge of the major arteries such as highways 11, 136 and I-59. That doesn't stop motorists from complaining to the mayor and the county boss about the intersection, by Case's account. "We're taking a beating on it and I asked them what number we can give the citizens to call and complain," he said.

Mayor Case (right) and County Executive Chairman Ted Rumley in a Planet file photo.

He did not supply such a number so The Planet will. The GDOT office in Rome, (706) 295-6025, is answered by a human being who says she can take complaints, comments and suggestions.

At the city and county meetings, Case also mentioned the long-awaited traffic light in front of the high school on 136 East. The poles were heavier than expected, he said, causing delays, but the power is in and the light ought to be functional by the end of May--after school is out for the summer. Again, scooch comes slowly in the rural South.

Case also said Highway 136 east to Walker County and west to Alabama will be resurfaced in stages, to be completed within two years. The traffic light in front of Taco Bell and the middle school is also to be reworked, said the mayor.

The Planet had not been aware of problems with the Taco Bell light, but surmises that scooch is the only constant.

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