There might be some changes taking place sooner than planned at the Publix intersection on Hwy. 144, after a local resident voiced concern during Tuesday’s Bryan County Commission meeting.
Sterling Woods resident Howard Fowler told commissioners the Hwy. 144 entrance way into the Publix shopping center is posing problems for drivers trying to turn into the subdivision.
"When Publix put in their store across from Sterling Woods, they didn’t think about how residents would get in and out of their subdivision," Fowler said, pointing out he has nothing against Publix and thinks they’re doing a great job.
But Fowler said the left turn lane creates a dangerous situation for subdivision residents trying to get on to Hwy. 144 and his primary concern is the possibility of someone getting rear ended.
"I think the best way to do it would be to move that entrance to line up with our subdivision," he said. "When the DOT presented plans to four-lane Hwy. 144, they were already planning to move the entrance to the front of our subdivision at that time. I’d like to see that done already, which would move our entrance way and alleviate this problem."
Fowler said he had already brought the issue up to Toby Roberts, who had gone out to look at the intersection with Fowler.
"It is a dangerous area," Roberts said. "Once he pointed it out to me, you can’t get in that turn lane because it’s designed to take traffic into the Publix area, not the subdivision. This situation is absolutely terrible and it’s dangerous."
Ed Bacon said the problem of cross-sections not lining up is something that needs to be addressed throughout the county, naming a similar situation out on Hwy. 280.
"Traffic, as it continues to increase, is going to create more problems," Bacon said.
Next week, the DOT is scheduled to visit the area with County Engineer Dale Dudley.
County Administrator Phil Jones said he needs to touch base with the DOT to verify the exact plans set forth for the intersection during the four-laning, in order to speed up the process and hopefully get the DOT’s plans for the entranceway to happen sooner rather than later.
There were no representatives from Publix or other businesses in the shopping center present at the commission meeting and attempts to reach a store spokesperson were unsuccesful.