Work is wrapping up today on the transformation of the intersection of Highway 11 and 124 in Jefferson from a four-way stop into a roundabout – Jefferson’s first.
The Georgia Department of Transportation announced Wednesday morning that work would conclude today with the change made to improve the flow of traffic through the area and increase safety.
A roundabout allows more vehicles to flow through an area more efficiently than an all-way stop.
“Roundabouts can dramatically improve safety when compared to traditional four-way intersections. In fact, a study of 23 intersections converted to roundabouts showed a decrease in total crashes by 39 percent, a decrease in injury crashes of 76 percent, and a dramatic 89 percent decrease in fatal crashes,” said Georgia DOT District Traffic Engineer Scott Zehngraff.
To use a roundabout – yield at entry; traffic inside the roundabout has the right of way. All entering motorists should yield to vehicles in the roundabout approaching and then enter the roundabout with a right turn. All traffic circulates around the central island in a counterclockwise movement and makes a right turn to exit the roundabout.
“Please slow down through the area while crews finish their work today at the new roundabout. Be cautious and do what the signs and pavement markings tell you to do. Once the roundabout is operational, I think you will see a vast improvement in the traffic flow in the area,” said Zehngraff.
At Monday’s work session of the Jefferson City Council, the project’s anticipated completion was mentioned.
A public safety official expressed concern about emergency vehicles. GDOT officials say, however, that fire engines should have no problem riding over the roundabout in emergencies since the circular addition is half the height of a speed bump.
Jefferson Public Works Director Jeff Killip, who is from England, got a tease when it was noted that, while Jefferson’s first, roundabouts are common in his native country. “Does it make it feel more like home?” someone asked. Good-humored and quick Killip quipped, “You people still drive on the wrong side of the road.”
Killip informed Major Jim Joiner and the city council that the American Public Works Association (APWA) is observing National Public Works Week May 19-25 to energize and educate the public on the importance of the contribution of public works to their daily lives: planning, building, managing and operating the heart of local communities and building the quality of life. The poster focusing on the theme, “Because of Public Works…” features a roundabout with a fountain in the center.