May 21—With Eastside Elementary School on one end and Antioch Elementary School on the other, Hill Road can get packed with cars when parents are dropping off or picking up students.
"I just try to avoid going anywhere around those times," said Allen Hiatt, who lives on Hill Road.
But it isn't just the traffic jams. Whitfield County Public Works Director DeWayne Hunt said some drivers will attempt to pass a line of cars stacked up to get into one of the schools, which is a major traffic concern. Public Works Department and Whitfield County Schools officials are working together to find some way to solve the traffic and safety issues.
"A group of principals, school district facilities, transportation and safety administrators met with Public Works and sheriff's office representatives," said Mike Ewton, Whitfield County Schools' assistant superintendent for operations and student services. "We had lengthy discussions about possible options that may mitigate the impact of parent traffic at these locations around school dismissal times. In short, there are no simple solutions that will quickly fix the problems without impacting student instruction time."
Ewton said a working group has been formed with representatives from the school system, sheriff's office and Public Works to keep looking at the issues around those two schools.
"The right players are at the table to work on solutions as resources become available in the future," he said.
"I'm glad that someone is taking a look at that," said Ron Lynn, who lives near Antioch on Riverbend Road.
Hunt said he hopes they can come up with some improvements and have them in place by the time school starts this fall.
He said he has also been talking to the Georgia Department of Transportation about Dawnville Elementary School, where vehicles have crashed into the playground fence.
"Since part of the property fronts along State Route 286, we must work with the state along their right of way," he said. "Potentially, we may have both center line and edge line rumble strips (which alert a driver by a change in the noise from the tires), along with a section of guardrail to be installed along the Mitchell Bridge Road frontage (to reduce those accidents)."