Dawson County residents were invited to an open house last week to view plans for two roundabouts that will replace the intersections of Hwy. 9 and Dawson Forest Road, with construction to include 15-mile detour scheduled for next summer.
According to Georgia Department of Transportation District One Communications Specialist Katie Strickland, construction will be in three stages, with the third stage requiring the closure of a considerable portion of Hwy. 9 to everyone but emergency response vehicles and local traffic.
The detour will begin at the intersection of Hwy. 9 and Hwy. 369 near Coal Mountain and span 15.14 miles, past the project location at the intersection of Hwy. 9 and Dawson Forest Road, to the square in Dawsonville where Hwy. 9 intersects with Hwy. 53.
“We have to rely on our state route system to detour people, however there are other roads, county roads and city streets that people know, so what we say is 15 miles may not really be 15 miles for somebody who knows their way around,” Strickland said.
The eight-week construction window will start when school lets out the summer of 2020 and should be wrapped up by the time school gets back in.
The project is scheduled to let in July with an estimated construction contract of $4.7 million.
“Once it lets, usually it's two to three months before construction actually starts,” Strickland said.
No right of way had to be acquired for the project, which has an estimated construction time of 18 to 24 months.
Strickland said the project will significantly reduce the amount of conflict points, which are ways one car can hit another car, at the intersection. She said there have been 36 crashes at the intersection in the past two years.
“Traditional four-way intersections have 32 points of conflict. When you replace it with a roundabout, that takes that 32 down to eight,” she said. “That makes it safer because if you do have a crash, let's say you enter the roundabout and someone is in the roundabout, you’re only going about 25 miles an hour on average, so it's a glancing blow rather than a T-bone or a head-on collision...the severity of crashes will be much, much less.”
GDOT is accepting comments on the project through March 26 online at www.dot.ga.gov/PS/PublicOutreach. From the menu, select ‘Dawson County’ and click ‘Go,’ then select ‘State Route 9 at Dawson Forest Road Roundabouts’ and click ‘comment.’
Comments can also be mailed to Mr. Eric Duff, Georgia Department of Transportation, 600 West Peachtree Street NW, 16th floor, Atlanta, Ga. 30308.