A GDOT drawing of the redesigned Hwy 11/136 intersection
Trenton's quirky central intersection at the junction of Highways 11 and 136 West has caused a lot of grief for Dade County over the years. "We were having little fender-benders almost weekly," said County Commission Executive Chairman Ted Rumley.
The problem is, and ever has been, that heading south, the right-turn lane looks to the uninitiated like the one that ought to go straight through. Meanwhile, from the straight-through lane, which doubles as the left-into-Ingle's lane, a driver has to dog-leg crazily through the intersection to attain the southbound lane on the other side of the light--often careening into an out-of-towner who doesn't know how things work in Dade County, and is proceeding straight from the right-turn lane.
If you got lost in that description, The Planet invites you to try the real thing. And we haven't even touched on the confusion about who has the right of way turning south onto 11, cars coming from 136 or those coming from the Ingle's; or the naked-and-alone feeling of waiting on 11 to be killed by semi trucks turning left from 136.
Earlier in the year there was talk that the Georgia Department of Transportation, under whose management both the major thoroughfares lie, would fix the intersection with a roundabout, a solution that had its proponents and its naysayers. But that didn't happen, and when GDOT just this fall did a major resurfacing of Highway 11, it left things just as they were. Trenton Mayor Alex Case said at the last city commission meeting that GDOT would probably redo the whole thing next year.
Now, though, county boss Rumley says no, it will be more like next week. "The people striping, we explained how critical that was," he said. "When they were painting right out here, I went out and talked to the guy over the paint crew. He said he'd been told to paint it just the way it used to be. He said, 'I refused to do it because I witnessed two fender scrapes down there while we were lining it off. I'm not going to be responsible for the wrecks.' "
But the supervisor said he didn't have any instructions for an alternative. "I said, 'You will have,' " said Rumley. "I went back and called the state and they sent me that [the map exhibited above], and I took it out and hand-delivered it."
Rumley said that was last Friday, and the intersection would have been redone this week except for the cold and rain. He said the work should be done immediately following Christmas.
He said the plan does not require widening the road. "They claim they've got enough room now that's wasted that they can do it with what's there," said Rumley. But it features a southbound straight-through lane that really does go straight through. "You're going to have a straight shot all the way through to Rising Fawn," said Rumley.
What will happen if this plan doesn't work? A roundabout for real? The Planet will report any developments.