Old Alabama Road is hell on earth

North Fulton commuters approach Old Alabama Road traveling north on a jammed up Medlock Bridge Road during rush hour Wednesday afternoon in Johns Creek, Ga., August 3, 2011. Jason Getz jgetz@ajc.com

Georgia Department of Transportation would like you to know that Old Alabama Road will be hell on earth for a while.

Well OK, they didn’t say exactly that. But let me tell you, that’s what this newly begun road widening project in Johns Creek is boiling down to.

Contractors have set up lane closures and shifted traffic on Old Alabama Road between Buice Road and Ga. 141/Medlock Bridge Road in order to widen it to four lanes and add raised medians and sidewalks. The construction project will also add a left-turn lane on Medlock Bridge Road to Old Alabama.

And it’s going to be like this for a while, because the project is not slated for completion until the end of 2016, according to GDOT spokeswoman Annalysce Baker.

According to a press release issued Monday morning, “the lane closures and traffic shift and are likely to result in delays” and “motorists are advised to exercise caution while driving in the area.”

You think?

On Friday night, I was stuck going eastbound on Old Alabama Road in a four-mile-long backup that started soon after Brumbelow Road and took an hour and 25 minutes to crawl through. A jogger passed me — twice — going out and back as a line of cars stretching for miles idled. This, on a stretch of road that takes normally 10 to 15 minutes to navigate.

News about the lane closures would’ve been nice on Friday, since the work had started at 9:30 a.m. that day. I wasn’t the only driver who was mad. Apparently the city of Johns Creek and C.W. Matthews (the contractor on the $3.9 million project) got complaints and social media was lit up with frazzled drivers. No messaging signs advising drivers about what was going on were visible until about 1500 feet from the project, at which point the end was nearly in sight.

Needless to say, for those traveling in the area, take it from me and give Old Alabama a wide berth.

And for those who have no choice but to drive it, details about lane closures and traffic shifts are as follows:

  • Westbound traffic on Old Alabama Road will shift from Ga. 141/Medlock Bridge Road to Buice Road;
  • One eastbound lane will close on Old Alabama Road from Buice Road to Ga,. 141/Medlock Bridge Road;
  • One left-turn lane from Old Alabama Road onto Ga. 141/ Medlock Bridge Road will close;
  • The right-turn lane from Old Alabama Road to Buice Road will close; and finally
  • Motorists can use the right-turn lane from Old Alabama Road to Ga. 141/ Medlock Bridge Road to make a right or left turn.

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