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Savannah Ave. project nearing completion
031207 SAV AVE 1
Vehicles whiz by the intersection of Savannah Avenue and Northside Drive during afternoon rush hour Monday


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The realignment project of Savannah Avenue should be complete by the end of the month, though the traffic light may not be installed for a few months after that.
    "Hopefully, if the weather holds, we'll be though with the entire thing by the end of the month," said Maz Elhaj, city engineer for Statesboro.
    The project alters the angle Savannah Avenue intersects with Northside Drive, changing it to a 70 degree angle. While engineers prefer to have roads intersect at a 90-degree angle, the change to Savannah Avenue is an improvement from the previous design.
    Construction workers are expected to begin milling Northside Drive today, which will take down approximately an inch of asphalt to give the road a fresh surface. Once that's complete, the final layer of asphalt will be laid and then the new striping on the roads will be done.
    Once the work is complete, Elhaj said Savannah Avenue will operate with a stop sign until a traffic signal can be installed. Also, he said they'll likely just open the right-turn lane, allowing drivers to go towards the Statesboro Mall. However, he said the left-turn lane will remain closed.
    The contract for the traffic signal at the intersection was approved by the Statesboro City Council at their meeting three weeks ago, but it must go though the Georgia Department of Transportation's review process before being installed. Elhaj said that could take as many as three months.
    Elhaj said there were a couple of reasons for realigning the intersection, including the number of rear-end collisions that occurred on Savannah Avenue as well as reducing the delay for drivers trying to turn onto Northside Drive.
    Also, he said that once the light is installed, making left turns from that intersection will be much safer.
    "When people turned left there (before the realignment), they had to wait to find a gap and it really was an unsafe maneuver," Elhaj said.
    Work has already begun on the second phase of the project, which will extend Savannah Avenue across Northside Drive to the campus of Statesboro High School. Elhaj said it should take around six months for that project to be completed.
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