BRASELTON, Ga -- Improvements to a state highway in Braselton was a welcome sight, but for some drivers, it came with an unwanted surprise.
Highway 53 takes commuters from I-85 toward Lanier Raceway. Growth and congestion in the area convinced GDOT to widen a section of the popular highway.
“They did improve it, yes,” says former Braselton city councilman Richard Mayberry. “But in the improving it they had a big oversight.”
GDOT, the town of Braselton, and Jackson County collaborated on a $630,000 project to add traffic lights and widen a portion of Highway 53. A new lane ends at Johnson Drive, where it becomes a right turn lane, much to the surprise of some drivers.
“I can't imagine going the speed limit and realizing, oh, this lane ends,” says Mayberry.
Two signs warn drivers that the lane is about to change. The first sign is 125 feet from the spot where the lane becomes “right turn only.” The other is right before the lane ends. There is about 400 feet between the first sign, and the end of the lane.
11Alive’s Commuter Dude watched as numerous drivers were caught off guard. At one point, the driver of a white van suddenly realizes he's in a right turn only lane and swerves to the left. Seconds later, another driver comes to the same realization, and also has to make a last second exit.
11Alive reached out to GDOT, and a spokesperson tells us there are no standards telling them where to place signs to warn drivers of a lane change.
After seeing our pictures, GDOT placed additional striping on the highway, giving drivers another150 feet of warning that the lane is about to end.
Engineers have also indicated they plan to place additional warning signs along Highway 53.