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DOT plans three roundabouts in Dawson County
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Dawson County officials have been asked to support improvements at three busy intersections across the county.

The Georgia Department of Transportation plans to build a double roundabout at Dawson Forest Road and Hwy. 9 South.

Roundabouts are also planned on Hwy. 53 at Elliott Family Parkway and on the west end where Elliott Family Parkway connects to Hwy. 52.

Support of the project includes Dawson County footing the monthly bill for lighting and maintenance at the crossings.

The annual cost to the county for all three intersections is estimated at $12,120.

A vote by the board of commissioners is needed on Thursday to move forward with the work.

Public Works Director David Headley presented a list of advantages and disadvantages with roundabouts, which are designed to move traffic in a continuous flow by utilizing yield signs rather than forcing a complete stop.

"Studies have proven roundabouts have a better safety performance than other types of intersections," he said. "Crashes in roundabouts show damages are significantly reduced."

Among the disadvantages are that accidents may temporarily increase while drivers learn to navigate the new design.

Dawson County Commission Chairman Mike Berg said the improvements at Hwy. 9 and Dawson Forest Road would be put on a construction fast track due to proximity of the nearby schools, fire station and park creating a need for greater safety in the area.

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

DOT has in "about the last year and a half," he said, "put a lot of emphasis" in Dawson County, with plans to replace the bridges over the Etowah Rover on Hwys. 136 and 9 South.

"There [are] several smaller projects and of course, then the CFI, that's a $14 million project," he said.

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

Sen. Steve Gooch said 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. "Traffic lights out here on 400, maybe a round-about at Dawson Forest and Hwy. 9 South, and some areas where there is some economic development possibilities."