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Highway 196 work welcome; not well planned
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Editor, After several years of construction and reconstruction, Georgia Highway 196 is approximately 85 percent completed, and I am happy that it’s almost ready for use. I will certainly be thankful for the additional lanes traveling in each direction.
This will surely ease some of the congestion commuters have previously subjected to. Although I am somewhat unhappy with this road widening project, I see a minimum of three uncorrected issues posing serious traffic problems.
First, the new intersection, with traffic lights linking Highway 84 to 196 is a worse problem now for commuters driving eastbound toward Highway 17. The former vehicular carnage and motorist fatalities that took place at the former entrance to Highway 196 has only been moved a few hundred yards east on 84. Even with traffic lights, motorists making left turns from 84 onto 196 eastbound are still pushing the envelope when it comes to oncoming westbound traffic on Highway 84. It’s just as dangerous, or even worse, with the traffic lights. The problem is this; motorists are too impatient to wait for oncoming traffic to clear the intersection before safely attempting to turn left onto 196. Secondly, the left turn lane, at the new lighted intersection, doesn’t leave or allow enough room for automobiles lining up to make the left turn when the light changes to green, and that’s a fact. It’s all too apparent to me that the planners underestimated the number of vehicles departing Hinesville, and travel on 196 each day.
Finally, the third issue is the bottleneck and log jam of traffic at the intersection of Highway 196 and 17. Vehicles are still lined up, bumper-to-bumper, attempting to turn left onto Highway 17 and proceed on toward Richmond Hill. An overpass would have corrected this condition. So now we have a lovely new highway with the same old problems at both ends of Highway 196.
In closing, I must suggest that the “peter principle” appears to apply here in regards to all those self-important individuals involved in the planning phases of this “white elephant.” The Pentagon would most certainly love to have these individuals on staff and in our war rooms. Why, they could all be generals. They could teach everyone how to walk backward, emit smoke from their ears, chew gum, scratch themselves. Isn’t life wonderful.

— John P. Howard
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