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Sara Leaders, transportation engineer

MILTON, Ga. — Vehicular travel, walking, biking, connectivity and safety were the top priorities identified in the 2016 Milton transportation plan, and working to keep residents moving is Sara Leaders, transportation engineer.

Leaders ensures residents are able to walk, bike or drive through the city in the most efficient manner and works with state and county agencies on the city’s behalf. She also heads planning and management for the design of the city’s transportation projects and various improvements and gathers public input on all large-scale projects to gather residents’ comments to ensure Milton has appropriate representation.

Leaders’ work involves addressing the top priority projects and preparing the city to move forward with potential improvements.

When GDOT projects come through the city, such as the roundabout at Ga. 372 Birmingham Highway and Providence Road, Leaders works with designers and consultants to create the most beneficial plan to Milton residents.

In addition to new projects, Leaders also ensures that existing streets flow efficiently. This can present a challenge, because many intersections and roads were constructed far before the incorporation of the city.

“A lot of what was in place were basic operation concerns like lack of turning lanes, traffic controls and ‘always stops’ such as stop signs and signals,” Leaders said.

By addressing these operational concerns and adding traffic flow improvements, such as turning lanes and roundabouts, traffic is better able to flow on the city’s streets.

But some residents also want the option to walk, which tasks Leaders with incorporating walkability into Milton’s transportation plan.

A few years after incorporation, Leaders worked with local schools to create a safe system of walkability from residential areas to the city’s schools with a grant from national program Safe Routes to School. Milton was one of the first cities in the state to receive the grant and create a safe route system.

With the city since 2007 after a stint in the private sector, Leaders said she is perhaps most proud of maintaining Milton’s traffic flow without mass road widening.

“I like the fact we are not looking to widen roads,” she said. “We’re focused on keeping as much of the two-lane infrastructure as we can, while also addressing operational improvements that will address traffic flow at peak times.”

Leaders met her husband, Justin, at Southern Polytechnic State University building a canoe they later raced. They now have two children that keep her and her husband busy with sports and activities. They enjoy canoeing, biking and hiking as a family.