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GDOT talks roundabout
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Several Dawson County residents who attended a recent GDOT meeting support the construction of a $2.7 million roundabout at the intersection of Highways 53 and 183.

The proposed project will reduce crash frequency and severity and improve operational efficiency at the intersection, according to GDOTs Office of Design Policy & Support.

On Aug. 13, the Georgia Department of Transportation held a public information open house at the Dawson County Government Center. Thirty three people attended. Five left hand-written comments to GDOT three supported the project, one gave conditional support and one person was against project.

According to a GDOT interdepartmental correspondence, Commentators for the project expressed a need for the roundabout as proposed. The commenter against the project suggested maintaining the current intersection with a lower speed limit. The conditional approver expressed concerns about providing adequate traffic control to maintain low speeds throughout the traffic circle. Other general comments included concerns about the construction duration, project detours, and project cost/funding. The correspondence was written by Glenn Bowman, P.E., state environmental administrator for GDOT.

County Commission Chair Mike Berg who could not attend the meeting supports the project.

Since GDOT is going to pay for it, why not? Berg said. I support it.

From Aug. 16, 2010 through Aug. 16, 2013, there were 12 collisions at the intersection one fatality, six injuries and 21 total vehicles involved, according to data from Randall Townley, Pioneer Regional Educational Services Agency and obtained by Lanier Swafford, Dawson County EMS chief.

Additionally, GDOT crash data from 2004 2008 shows 23 crashes at the intersection with 17 injuries and no fatalities.

Dawson County resident and House Rep. Kevin Tanner also supports improvements at the intersection.

I use that intersection regularly, Tanner said. There needs to be improvements, and I support changes to the intersection to improve safety. Tanner also noted that he had not yet reviewed GDOTs proposal.

In a 78-page GDOT project concept report, 4,510 vehicles move through the intersection each day; GDOTs right-of-way would increase from 80 to 100 feet; the number of parcels impacted is 10; temporary pavement will be required during construction; no off-site detours are anticipated; a permit is required to discharge into the Chattahoochee river basin; stopping site distance and intersection sight distance will be improved.

Dawson County would not be responsible for maintenance and operation of the roundabout.

It is a state funded project, and the state is responsible, said Sen. Steve Gooch, who represents Dawson County residents.

David Hopkins, a Dawson County resident who opposes the project, said he has a good solution.

We dont need to spend all that money for a roundabout, Hopkins said. The solution is to reduce the speed limit. Just because we dont have to pay for it doesnt mean we should do it. That triangle has been there a long time.

GDOTs Concept Report is available at https://gtas.dot.ga.gov/0009938