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December 13, 2012JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – After months of trying to negotiate to no avail some sort of partnership with Roswell to share the $180,000 cost of putting a light at Nesbit Ferry Road and Brumbelow Road, the Johns Creek City Council decided Dec. 10 to go it alone.
"We are caught in a conundrum," said City Manager John Kachmar. "The traffic study warrants a light there. We recently completed a study of the 10 worst traffic intersections, and if we had a No. 11 it would be Nesbit Ferry at Brumbelow."
Both cities have had studies done to see if a signal is warranted under the Manual for Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) authored by the Federal Highway Administration, and both cities have found the signal warranted.
Councilwoman Karen Richardson said she had misgivings about going ahead with the project because it leaves the impression with neighboring cities to sit back on joint problems and "let Johns Creek do it."
"Why are we the ones liable if there is an accident," she asked.
Kachmar said the city would be no more liable than Roswell; which is true. Roswell in fact owns two-thirds of the right of way at the intersection. However, Roswell Transportation Director Steve Acenbrack maintains a warrant for a traffic signal does not entail any liability to either city should an accident occur there.
Warrants only instruct that a signal is allowed, but the MUTCD expressly says warrants do not require a signal be installed, Acenbrack said.
"Traffic control devices serve only one purpose, and that is to establish who has the right of way. So this intersection is a candidate, that's all. The intersection is unsafe only if someone makes an unsafe maneuver," Acenbrack said.
Roswell acknowledged that a signal is warranted, but the Roswell City Council has maintained all along that many other intersections in the city have traffic warrants that are a higher priority than the one at Brumbelow.
"It affects Johns Creek residents. We have had no complaints from our residents about Nesbit Ferry," Roswell Mayor Jere Wood said.
Johns Creek has money in the budget earmarked to do the project. The city has simply been trying to negotiate with Roswell to share at least some of the costs.
Councilwoman Kelly Stewart said she was "disappointed" Roswell chose not to participate, but that the city should go ahead with the project alone.
Mayor Mike Bodker said the council did the traffic study, it is warranted and so the city must go forward.
"I just hope Roswell doesn't charge us permitting fees," Bodker said.
According to Roswell Community Development Director Alice Wakefield, Roswell does not normally charge other governments permitting fees for work done in the city.