Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) officials unveiled plans for a roundabout at the intersection of State Route 225 and Mount Carmel Road/Mitchell Bridge Road Tuesday afternoon. But many of the Murray County residents attending the meeting expressed concerns about the proposal.
“There’s a lot of transfer trucks and logging trucks that go through that intersection. I’ve only been on one of those things about twice, but I worry about all those trucks going through there,” said Melvin Adams.
But GDOT communications officer Mohamed Arafa said the roundabout will move traffic — including trucks and school buses — more safely and smoothly.
“The roundabout is basically designed to reduce crashes while keeping traffic moving,” he said.
The intersection currently is a four-way stop without any traffic signals. Plans call for that to be replaced with a roundabout with a 150-foot diameter consisting of a single 20-foot lane. The approaches to the roundabout would have curbs and gutters, and the island in the center would be landscaped.
Arafa says GDOT plans to buy the needed right of way around the intersection in 2014.
Bob Vance, who lives on 225, said he was glad to see maps showing the needed right of way stopped well short of his property.
“That’s the old family home. My parents lived there. My grandparents lived there,” he said.
Arafa said construction is set to start in the fall of 2015 and should take about a year.
“So by the fall of 2016 it should be operational,” he said.
The project is forecast to cost about $1.5 million.
The intersection is just outside North Murray High School, and Principal Maria Bradley said something needs to be done there but she isn’t sure that a roundabout is the solution.
“I’ve got a concern about 16-year-old students who are just learning to drive getting into a roundabout. Most of them have rarely, if ever, experienced a roundabout. I’m concerned about our buses. I’m concerned about transfer trucks,” she said. “But one thing I am in favor of is turning lanes. I’d like to see turning lanes all around that intersection. That would help quite a bit.”
Murray County Sole Commissioner Brittany Pittman said she has heard “mixed reactions” from residents concerning the plans.
“That’s understandable. I do think people want something done at that intersection. But roundabouts are something new for this area. People aren’t familiar with them, and they worry that this is the right fit,” she said.