Traffic snarls tie up North Fulton motorists

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ALPHARETTA, Ga. – Last week was not good for utility poles or motorists in Alpharetta. Two poles were knocked down. The one on Haynes Bridge Road June 3 was by far the worst tying up traffic in Alpharetta, Johns Creek and Roswell.

A second pole on Douglas Road was knocked down June 5 near the Douglas roundabout, and for good measure, a tree fell across Alpharetta’s Canton Street.

The Haynes Bridge accident happened when an 18-wheeler belonging to Claridge Products & Equipment, a maker of school supplies, was making a delivery about 7 a.m. to Haynes Bridge Middle School, which is being renovated.

According to the truck driver, James Grier, he had been told his rig had 2 inches of clearance to pull under the signal light line parallel to Haynes Bridge. As he made his turn, he heard a loud noise followed by the utility pole falling and subsequently pulling down the signal light, as well as lines for AT&T, Comcast and Sawnee Electric.

Apparently the lines were sagging just enough for the corner of the semi’s trailer to snag one of the lines and snap the pole. Sawnee Electric dispatched a team of trucks to make repairs. According to Assistant City Manager James Drinkard, there were some unforeseen difficulties requiring it to take around 10 hours to complete.

Haynes Bridge Road is a nexus for Alpharetta, Johns Creek and Roswell traffic since the road is fed by Old Alabama Road in Johns Creek and Mansell Road in Roswell. Traffic snarled as cars had little room to turn around at Blackwatch Lane and Haynes Bridge.

“So we started getting calls pretty soon from Roswell drivers that we needed to get some traffic control up there,” said Drinkard. “We started making some calls first to Roswell to let them know what was going on, and they made some adjustments.

“Then we found out there were back-ups on the east side of the accident that had cars coming from Old Alabama that they were backed up, so we called Johns Creek,” he said. “There are a lot of neighborhoods that have entrances along Haynes Bridge, but they don’t exit anywhere.

“Some people did try to turn around in the [large] Willow Springs community, that does have an Old Alabama exit, but they seemed to wander a lot.”

Drinkard said it was held up so long because the power company was having difficulty finding some of the older cables they needed that were buried in the ground.

“They said they were going to have to ‘hand dig’ some cables. I doubt that meant physically dig by hand, but it did mean it would take longer,” Drinkard said. “Thankfully, school was not in session or it would have been a real nightmare.”

As it turned out, it took much longer getting things cleared up around 5 p.m. Repairs were estimated at $8,000.

It was déjà vu all over again June 5. This time a teenager driving around 11 a.m. left the road and struck another utility pole on Douglas Road between Sargent Road and McGinnis Ferry Road near the roundabout. Again Sawnee Electric was on the job and had it fixed in about an hour.

But by comparison, the tree across Canton Street was a piece of cake.

JCH06-11-14