Let me just say up front that I am fascinated by traffic patterns and maps. As construction of the massive Aspen Heights student housing development Highway 67 South nears completion, I can't help but wonder how the influx of more than 1,000 students is going to affect traffic on Burkhalter Road and Highway 67.
If you use Burkhalter Road, you know just how backed up it can get at the intersection of Burkhalter and Highway 67. I wondered what impact if any the new complex will have on that already "strained" intersection.
I went down to City Hall seeking answers and happened upon city manager Frank Parker and city engineer Robert Cheshire. They both rightfully pointed that that particular intersection is considered county, because the southeast corner is not annexed into the city.
Regardless, the impact to Burkhalter was considered when the project was approved by the city.
"A traffic study was conducted, and we looked at the best way to move cars in and out of the complex," Cheshire said. "First of all, there are two entrance/exits onto Highway 67 which we feel will be the move of choice by those living in Aspen Heights. They are students, so by nature they will be traveling in between the complex and the university. It will definitely add traffic to 67, but that is a major thoroughfare with multiple lanes."
What many of you may not know is that a road has been planned that will run from 67 through the complex and intersect Cawana Road.
Once the property between (and behind) Aspen Heights and Cawana Road is developed that road will be opened to the public. It is called Aspen Heights Drive.
"It will have speed bumps and pedestrian crossings to ensure resident safety," Cheshire said. "That should alleviate some stress on Burkhalter when the other piece is developed."
I would like to add that both Cheshire and Parker are keenly aware of the traffic "challenges" being faced in the city, and are looking for solutions.
"We are unique in that virtually every student comes to Georgia Southern with a car," Parker said. "We need to continue to explore and encourage alternatives to just getting in your car and going somewhere. There are ways to alleviate some of the stress."
So, until next Tuesday, I bid you au revoir.
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