Created: Fri, 09 Aug 2013 10:33:00 EST
Updated: Fri, 09 Aug 2013 10:57:14 EST
The Georgia Department of Transportation has budgeted more than $2 million to reconstruct a Bibb County intersection. But the plans have one county commissioner complaining
A roundabout intersection is planned to replace the four-way stop at the Tomaston and Laram roads intersection. And that change is not what Bibb commissioners wanted. But it's what they're going to get.
A roundabout is a circular intersection in which traffic does not stop but flows in one direction around a center island. Tests and experience first in Europe and now across the United States show the roundabouts are safer than four-way stops, although they can be confusing to inexperienced drivers.
"We've had plenty of wrecks out here," said Joe Allen, Bibb commissioner for District 4.
The busy intersection will soon be a construction zone. And Allen appreciates that something is being done about the intersection.
"The bottom line is look at all the roads that come together you have Johnson Road coming off here," he said.
While the transition may be difficult, communities across the country have adopted roundabouts as ways to make intersections safer and quicker, saving time and fuel and resulting in less pollution from idling vehicles.
GDOT says the roundabouts have become the preferred alternative for intersections and will be considered at all intersections that are undergoing reconstruction.
About six months from now, the Thomaston-Lamar intersection will be a well-lit roundabout with the county funding the lighting. The commissioners hope the well-lit area will help residents who are unfamiliar with roundabouts avoid confusion.
"We are going to light up the intersection that people will know that there is something ahead," Allen said.
The modern, single-lane roundabout will have five approaches instead of the usual four.
The roundabout in Culloden is the oldest in the state and was built in 2008. Five years later, some residents still don't like it.
"It's good if you know it's there," said Juan Rez. "If you don't know it's there it kind of jumps up on you. We have had quite a few accidents where people didn't know that it was here and ran and they would run it and go across the top the middle of it "
Visitors to the area agree that it can result in drivers not knowing what to do.
"The first time that I came through here it was just really confusing," said Miranda Myers of Pike County.
But one resident says it's made the area safer, which is the goal of all intersection improvements.
"I think the roundabout is one of the best things that could have happened to this area," said William Webb. "It used to be wrecks out there all the time."
For Bibb County, it's coming whether it's wanted or not.
"I really wanted red lights here, for this part of the community this is what was needed," Allen said.