A long-awaited traffic signal at the intersection of Highway 17 and Mulberry Drive is one step closer to fruition after the city received a permit from the Georgia Department of Transportation to move forward with the project.
Richmond Hill Mayor Harold Fowler said Monday the city received the permit late last week. He expects the City Council to discuss and award a contract for the project during its rescheduled regular meeting at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at City Hall.
Fowler said the project may take a few weeks longer than anticipated because he is still working out funding kinks with DOT.
“I’m going to see if DOT will furnish some of the material for the light, which would save us some money,” he said.
The project will cost around $186,000, Fowler said. The developer of a Family Dollar store at that intersection, TRC-Richmond Hill, agreed in May to put $25,000 toward the cost of the traffic light.
While Fowler said in May he believed the state would give nearly $100,000 for the project, he said Monday the state only granted about $60,000 worth of state Local Maintenance and Improvement Grant (LMIG) funding for the project.
Residents of Mulberry subdivision expressed major concerns with the safety of the intersection before plans for the Family Dollar store were approved in April, claiming a new development would bring increased traffic to an already dangerous intersection. One resident, Jennifer Jeffers, even compared crossing through the intersection to playing the video game “Frogger.”
City Manager Chris Lovell said the city is glad to receive the permit to move forward with the project.
“We’re excited — we know it’s been a long time coming and we know it’s a safety issue, so we’re really excited to get that one in,” he said.
While Family Dollar is not currently open, it will likely be by the end of December, Lovell said. He expects the traffic light at the intersection to be operational by the “early part of next year.” No major changes to the intersection will be necessary, he added.
In addition to awarding a contract for the traffic light project, the council’s meeting agenda also includes a discussion about the new fire station on Ford Avenue. The council will meet for a budget workshop at 6 p.m. with the regular meeting to follow.