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December 24, 2012ALPHARETTA, Ga. — Lake Lanier may have its own islands, but Alpharetta's newest are causing some confusion. The new raised medians at the intersection of Old Milton Parkway and Ga. 9 have replaced the old center lane that used to run the entirety of that part of town, and traffic is backing up in response.
"The problem is that individuals are not utilizing both left turn lanes," said Pete Sewczwicz, Alpharetta's public works director. "People who want to turn left are in the thru lane stopping traffic."
Drivers turning east onto Old Milton have two left turn lanes, thanks to extensive renovations to the intersection earlier in the year. However, those who want to turn immediately right onto Haynes Bridge Road southbound seem to prefer sitting in the rightmost left turn lane, while few people are using the leftmost left turn lane. This causes turning traffic to back up into the thru lanes.
While some might be quick to accuse the medians of causing the problem, Sewczwicz disagrees.
"The median has nothing to do with it," he said. "There's more left-turn stacking room now than there was prior to left turn lanes being constructed."
He said alternatives and solutions are being considered to lessen the problem.
In addition, landscaping will be installed in the medians next year. Thus far, they have remained empty.
"We're working with our landscape designer for City Center to finalize plans along the median and the roundabout [on Haynes Bridge]," Sewczwicz said. "We want to make sure everything is designed together."
Because the City Center is still in the design phase, Sewczwicz said the city does not want to plant something that would clash or otherwise not mix well with whatever is decided upon for it.
The landscaping is expected to be finished by March.
Haynes Bridge update
The northern section of Haynes Bridge Road, between Old Milton Parkway and Academy Street, will reopen on schedule, about the first of the year.
The road was closed off in November after construction fell far behind schedule. Haynes Bridge was moved to the east to accommodate the new City Center plans for City Hall and a park as well as a new library.
When it reopens, the speed limit will be 25 miles per hour.
"The last thing you want to have is all those people walking around and crossing the street and then have people using it as a thoroughfare," Sewczwicz said.