The rain Tuesday night did little to deter citizens from attending a Public Information Open House for a proposed roundabout at Georgia Highway 5 at Dorsett Shoals, Banks Mill and Pool roads, where they received information from Georgia Department of Transportation representatives about the proposed projects and were able to provide input on the recent redesign.
Solving this traffic safety dilemma has been in the works for a number of years. Tuesday night’s meeting comes following a similar meeting back in June 2013, when the public got a first look at two roundabout designs addressing the same problems at the same intersections. Even then, the designs from 2013 were the result of a three-year study by GDOT.
The project displays and plans will be available for review until Feb. 17 at the Douglas County Department of Transportation office on the first floor of the Douglas County Courthouse at 8700 Hospital Drive during regular courthouse hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
According to a representative from GDOT, the proposed project is intended to improve the operations and safety where multiple side roads intersect with Highway 5 in a close proximity to one another.
Douglas County Department of Transportation Director Randy Hulsey said, “We are very pleased that the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) has continued to diligently pursue a design for this location that will solve the traffic issues but also stands the test of accounting for vigorous input and concerns from members of the community. The work to develop the newest design iteration has been a positive process that shows GDOT’s commitment to work to the fullest extent to be responsive to local concerns where possible. I believe that we have achieved an acceptable project concept that will solve the traffic issues and is much improved over previously presented concepts.”
The proposed project would construct a five-legged multi-lane roundabout and include Highway 5, both north and south, Banks Mill Road, Pool Road and Dorsett Shoals road. This version of the plan would construct a southbound left-turn lane from Highway 5 onto Big A Road. Dorsett Shoals Road would shift 250 feet south to align with the intersections of Highway 5, Banks Mill and Pool roads at the proposed roundabout.
Representatives said rights of way and easements are anticipated for the construction of the project.
According to Brandi Peck, program delivery manager with Douglas County DOT, if approved, the project should begin in winter of 2019 and take as much as 24 to 36 months to complete.
This plan, she explained, requires less intrusion into existing structures, and does not impact the cemetery at Pray’s Mill Baptist Church — a concern that many residents who live in the Bill Arp area have.
“Dorsett Shoals will be realigned,” said Peck. “It is the only road that will be deviated. Banks Mill, Pool and Big A should not be affected.”
Bill Arp resident Bob Dickinson was present at Tuesday night’s open house. He owns two pieces of property along the affected area and from the proposed design, he is hoping to gain some road frontage from the project.
“I’m for the system,” he said. “I like the way it turned out. It looks like it will serve us well.”
Dorsett Shoals Road, Banks Mill Road and Pool Road all intersect at Highway 5 within one-tenth of a mile from each other and all intersect with Highway 5 at stop-controlled intersections with no turn lanes from any approach.
Highway 5 is described by GDOT as a two-lane urban principal arterial with a posted speed of 45 mph and average daily traffic of 13,220 vehicles per day; Dorsett Shoals has an average daily traffic of 1,740 vehicles; Banks Mill and Pool roads have average daily traffic of 1,870 and 1,140 per day, respectively.
GDOT reports that between 2004-2008, 50 crashes occurred at these intersections, resulting in 36 total injuries. Of those crashes, 41 percent were angle collisions accounting for 53 percent of injuries. According to studies, GDOT reports that the installation of roundabouts result in nearly 80 percent reduction in fatal and serious injury crashes and nearly a 40 percent reduction in property damage crashes.
Those who were not able to attend Tuesday’s meeting still have time to make their opinions known before the Feb. 17 deadline by going online at www.dot.ga.gov/PS/Public/PublicOutreach, select Douglas County and then select SR5 at Dorsett Shoals Road/Pool Road/Banks Mill Road Roundabout. Then click comment and follow the instructions to leave your comments.
A second way to comment is to mail a comment card to Mr. Eric Duff, Georgia Department of Transportation, 600 West Peachtree Street NW, 16th Floor, Atlanta, GA 30308.