“I do think it’s a problem and we need to be proactive, but we should study it a while before making a decision,” Rome City Commissioner Duane Reid said after a staff briefing.
At issue are the left turns drivers must make across several lanes of traffic when entering from the east or exiting to the west.
Public Services Director Kirk Milam said the adjacent American Legion Post has agreed to allow the use of its rear parking lot, and a driveway will be marked on the asphalt.
The additional path will funnel vehicles to the levee road exit — a little farther away from a congestion point on Shorter. Public Works Director Jamie McCord said crews were able to move the guardrail to provide more “storage” for cars waiting to make the turn, but the intermediate fix provides only minor relief.
“The idea is to try to get gymnastics (participants) from the Rec Authority to the traffic signal that will be at the levee gate,” City Manager John Bennett said.
Drivers can enter the Heritage Park levee gate on Second Avenue now and follow the road to the rear of the RFPRA facility. They can’t, however, take the same road to get out.
Milam said the road is too narrow for two-way traffic, and there appears to be no way to widen it.
“On one side, the embankment is the levee, so we can’t cut into that,” he said. “On the other side, we’ll be into the ball fields.”
A potential solution is to reverse the flow of traffic within Heritage Park, but that could come with its own set of problems. For now, Milam said staffers will be monitoring events at the park and gymnastics center to determine how best to accommodate participants.
The new Wolf Drive, from North Avenue to the Rome High and Middle schools complex, also is requiring traffic-flow adjustments.
The road is set to open May 2, with a ribbon-cutting expected on April 29.
Milam said buses won’t be able to easily negotiate the crossover between the schools at the Veterans Memorial Highway entrance, so no change is planned for their routes.
“Wolf Drive is going to ease congestion at that intersection somewhat, and it’ll help parents and students because they can come in one side and go out the other without looping around,” he said. “But it’s not going to help buses.”
School officials are putting together a set of procedures for driving around the campus, with an eye to making any necessary adjustments before the start of the new school year this fall.
The new levee gate, RFPRA facility and Wolf Drive were funded through the 2006 special purpose, local option sales tax collection.