The Paulding County Board of Commissioners voted at last week’s meeting to authorize the light at a cost of $59,335 at the intersection of Ga. Hwy. 61, Aiken Drive and the high school entrance. Pownall motioned for the vote.
“It was a motion of excitement,” he said.
Construction is scheduled to start sometime in the next two weeks and the signal is set to be turned on the week of Aug. 26.
The county started the engineering process for the project about a year ago, said Department of Transportation Director Scott Greene. Since the highway is a state road, the county had to get permission from the state to install the light.
“We have had a constant request from the public and commissioners for years to have a traffic light at Paulding County High School,” Greene said.
To prove the need for the signal to the state, the county was required to do a study to determine the daily traffic count at the intersection.
The average traffic on Hwy. 61 near the school is 15,130 vehicles per day, but the daily traffic coming from the school and Aiken Drive at the intersection was not enough to satisfy state requirements for a full-time signal.
However, the state opted to approve a part-time signal.
“This is going to be the first peak-hour signal in Paulding County,” Greene said.
During times of high volume traffic, such as when school starts in the morning and ends in the afternoon, the signal will be a regular traffic light. During non-peak times, it will flash yellow.
Since 1984 the county has used sheriff’s deputies to direct traffic during the busy hours. Greene said Sheriff Gary Gulledge told him the sheriff’s office will continue to provide officers as long as they are needed and to help with traffic control during the early use of the signal.
Also the county DOT will install a crosswalk to accompany the new light, Greene said.