Fayette County is continuing their push to make local roads safer with the approval of two new roundabouts at Thursday night’s Board of Commissioners meeting. The roundabouts will be at the intersection of Redwine Road and Peachtree Parkway/Bernhard Road and at the crossroads of Brogdon and New Hope.
Public Works Director Phil Mallon said roundabouts were the clear choice again, with neither project warranting stop lights.
“A roundabout is our solution for about everything it seems lately,” he said. “It provides safety improvements, and also operational improvements, not only now but in the future.”
Commission Chairman Eric Maxwell was excited about continuing the trend of road safety projects.
“I want to be on the county commission that’s the roundabout kings,” he said.
Mallon compared both intersections to the one at Antioch and Goza, which was labeled an “extremely high priority,” and is already set to get a roundabout. Measured out over a six to seven year period, Antioch-Goza averaged roughly seven crashes a year, 56 percent of which involved injuries. Redwine averages four crashes, with only 10 percent resulting in injuries. Brogdon tallies 5.8 crashes per year, with 58 percent involving injuries.
“With both of these projects, the transportation committee and county staff are very comfortable with the recommendations,” Mallon said.
At the Redwine intersection, the key concern is capacity, particularly during peak times of school drop-off and pickup when the queue of vehicles at the four-way stop can be 20 to 25 deep.
Mallon noted that the volume does not quite warrant a light and he also believes a light would not suit the area as well.
“In my opinion, a roundabout would compliment that area and fit in very nicely,” he said of the rural character. “A traffic signal, to me, has a very different feel and changes characteristics of it.”
The intersection of Brogdon and New Hope seems to be a growing concern for nearby residents.
“If I get even two phone calls complaining about the same intersection in a short period of time, my red flag goes up, and that’s been the case with this intersection, in particular this summer,” Mallon said.
Whereas capacity is the primary focus at Redwine, safety is the priority at Brogdon.
“The concern here is safety and crashes,” he said. “In particular, you have a curve that gives you very limited sight distance.”
Both intersections were included on the SPLOST project list, meaning the bulk of funding has already been set aside. While Brogdon is slated to be within the budgeted amount of $1.2 million, Redwine is projected to cost $1.6 million, roughly $300,000 over the original budget amount.
Commissioner Randy Ognio said it still made sense to move ahead with the Redwine roundabout, even with it over budget.
“I understand the cost overrun on this. I know that we’ll have to figure out where that money’s coming from, but I think to move forward with this is important because of the amount of traffic that intersection handles now,” he said, noting that the volume will only increase with area development coming. “I think we’re doing the prudent thing by going ahead and designing, and once we get it designed we can look for a grant to try to help.”
Commissioner Charles Oddo was proud that the projects were included in the SPLOST proposal so that the largest chunk of funding was already accounted for.
“I’m thankful we had the foresight to put this on the SPLOST because, had we not done it, we’d still be looking at doing this and it wouldn’t be $300,000, we’d be looking at $1.6 million we had to come up with,” he said.
County Manager Steve Rapson noted that staff will reevaluate SPLOST funding allocations next year and propose shifting funds as needed.
With unanimous approval from the commissioners for both projects, Croy Engineering will now be tasked with taking the roundabout concepts from concept to full design.