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GDOT seeks public input on roundabout planned in western Dawson
2 GDOT Roundabout pic
Barbara Roberts, who lives near the intersection of Hwys. 52 and 183, speaks to a representative with the Georgia Department of Transportation last week over changes planned for the crossing. - photo by Michele Hester Dawson County News

Barbara Roberts can name dozens of times she's almost been hit pulling out of her driveway on Hwy. 52 near its intersection with Elliott Family Parkway.

"We have almost gotten hit so many times, because people don't stop at the stop sign [coming from Ellijay on Hwy. 52]. I don't know if they don't see it or if they think it shouldn't apply to them or what," she said. "It's a pretty dangerous intersection."

So dangerous, according to state transportation officials, that there are plans to rebuild the crossing and install a roundabout.

Georgia Department of Transportation representatives were at Amicalola Falls State Park and Lodge on Thursday to discuss those plans with the public and collect comments on the project.

"Normally when we get a project, we have some of the history and data showing that there are accidents there and we need to do something, make improvements are certain locations," said Project Manager Steven Heng. "We've seen lots and lots of accidents at this intersection.

"A roundabout is one of the safer concepts for intersections like this one."

Roundabouts, Heng said, are also among the most economical improvements.

GDOT announced last year plans to construct a roundabout at the Y-intersection of 183, where Elliott Family Parkway's west end connects to Hwy. 52.

Slated to start in 2017, each of the three legs (Hwy. 52 from the northwest, Hwy. 52 from the north and Hwy. 183 from the south) will have two 12-foot lanes and 10-foot shoulders.

The approaching legs will contain raised splitter islands for speed control. The roundabout will also have a 20-foot wide travel way, curb and gutter on the exterior, and a raised truck apron and mountable curbs on the interior of the roundabout.

The project should take about a year.

"Something certainly needs to be done. Whether or not this is the answer, something needs to happen to the intersection," she said.

Changes to the crossing are among three new roundabouts planned to be built in Dawson County.

Improvements are also in the works for the intersection of Dawson Forest Road West and Hwy. 9 South, as well as the crossing of Hwy. 53 and Elliott Family Parkway.

The proposed roundabouts are part of a bigger plan for transportation improvements in Dawson County, according to Dawson County Commission Chairman Mike Berg.

DOT has in "about the last year and a half," he said, "put a lot of emphasis" in Dawson County.

The General Assembly passed a bill last April that allocates an additional $1 billion annually to the state's transportation needs.

Sen. Steve Gooch said at the time that there are several needed road projects in Dawson County that have been overlooked for too long.

"There are some issues here in Dawson County that have been put on the back burner for years, because funding wasn't there, and I think now is a good time to readdress them," he said.

Written statements concerning the project will be accepted until Feb. 22. They can be mailed to Ms. Hiral Patel, P.E., State Environmental Administrator, Georgia Department of Transportation, 600 West Peachtree Street, NW – 16th Floor, Atlanta, Georgia 30308.