Driving from one side of Dalton to the other may take a little less time, thanks to some projects coming soon from the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT).

“The Department of Transportation told me they expect to have a crew in here in the next couple of weeks to replace broken traffic loops,” said Dalton public works director Benny Dunn.

Traffic loops are installed in the ground in the road and can sense when cars have pulled up to a red light, alerting the traffic signal to change.

When the loops are broken, Dunn said, the lights run on a timer, and they change, or don’t change, regardless of traffic.

“They’re replacing anything that’s been damaged on Walnut Avenue, the Cleveland Highway, North Dalton Bypass, and Chatsworth Highway all the way into (Highway) 411,” Dunn said.

Those roads are all state routes, and Dunn said all of the work would be “100 percent state funded.”

Dunn couldn’t immediately say how many intersections on those roads have broken loops.

“But once they get those in and get everything running on a traffic-actuated sequence rather than a timed sequence, there should be a noticeable difference in some of those intersections,” he said.

The work should take three to four weeks once it starts.

“I’m very pleased. I understand this is something that has been needed for a while,” said Whitfield County Board of Commissioners chairman Brian Anderson.

Dunn said one intersection that won’t be immediately addressed is Walnut Avenue at Riverbend Road.

“DOT has plans to come in and mill all that rutting. It would be foolish to put in loops and DOT come back in a month and mill out the loops, but they said as soon as the milling is done, they’ll come back and do the loops there,” he said.

Dalton Mayor Ray Elrod said he is pleased that work will be done as well.

“We’ve got a very good report with the Department of Transportation, and we appreciate their work,” he said.

Dunn said he wasn’t given a firm time for that work, but it should be done later this summer.

This fall, Dunn says, GDOT will return and upgrade all of the traffic signals on Walnut Avenue from Thornton Avenue to the Dalton Bypass.

“They’ll be putting in all new signals, new controller boxes. They’ll have mast arms – those metal arms that stick out, not lights hanging from a cable – within the city limits,” he said.

More important, all those new signals will all be connected and on the same computer timer.

“They’ll be tied together. Let’s say you start at one signal and you drive the speed limit down to the next one. It should either be green or turn green when you get there, and when you get to the next one it should be green as well,” Dunn said.

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