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Reaction on roundabout mixed
DOT outlines plan for intersection
1 Roundabout pic
Residents review plans for a roundabout at the intersection of Hwy. 53 and Elliott Family parkway during a public information meeting held by state transportation officials Aug. 13. - photo by Michele Hester Dawson Community News

Residents have mixed feelings about a proposed roundabout at Hwy. 53 and Elliott Family Parkway, though many agree something is needed to slow traffic in the area west of Dawsonville.

"I think the roundabout would be good. We just need to get some speed restrictions," Larry Anderson said. "My concern is I'm not getting a good answer from [the Georgia Department of Transportation] on if we will see speed reductions."

State transportation officials presented preliminary plans for improvements to the crossing during a public information meeting last week at the Dawson County Government Center.

Currently in the preliminary design phase, the project is slated to start in April or May 2016, according to project manager Derrick Brown.

"We're having this public meeting basically to solicit public input, get their comments, use their recommendations and potentially help make a design that everyone's happy with," he said.

The proposed roundabout would "reduce the severity of the accidents and amount of accidents" at the crossing by slowing traffic.

"Just to reduce the amount of accidents, that is the need and purpose of the project," Brown said. "This is going to slow down the traffic through this intersection and reduce the number of conflict points and the opportunity for those rear-end collisions and T-bone accidents that have happened in the past."

John Walden, who lives off Goldmine Road and travels through the intersection daily, is not convinced.

"To me with the tractor trailers going up and down [Hwy.] 53, plus [Hwy.] 183, it's going to destroy the roundabout with the concrete in place," he said. "I just don't think this is an area for a roundabout.

"There are places for it, but this place I don't feel is for a roundabout."

It was the proposed roundabout's nearly $3 million price tag that first caught his attention.

Walden arrived at the public information meeting with an alternative engineering design he said would be more cost effective by eliminating the need for the state to acquire right of way from property owners.

"I agree, there does need to be a change here, but their plan, I'm totally against it," he said.

David Pickering, who lives off Will Hall Road, a side street east of the intersection, said the cost is a small price to pay for a project that could save lives.

"If it's not spent here, it's definitely going to be spent somewhere else," he said. "And if it saves one life, then it's worth it and I'm definitely for it.

"This is our only road out to [Hwy.] 53 and everybody is in such a hurry. Plus it's a big truck route and they come around that hill so fast and it's hard to see. This is for the safety of the community. That's why I'm supporting it."

John Taylor, Pickering's neighbor on Daniel Drive, agreed.

"I'm satisfied with what I see. I believe they are trying to make it safer," he said. "Anything to slow the traffic down on Hwy. 53 is worth it."

The public has until Friday to submit comments on the proposed project, which can be viewed at

Hardcopies are available at the Georgia DOT Gainesville District Office located at 2505 Athens Highway, Gainesville.

Comments can be entered online or mailed to Glenn Bowen, Georgia Department of Transportation, 600 West Peachtree St., N.W., 16th Floor, Atlanta, GA 30308.