Traffic circles in the future for Augusta intersections

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Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- They're popular in European cities, and some in America, and now there's a push to bring traffic circles to Augusta.

Steve Cassell with traffic engineering for Richmond County says, "If you hate roundabouts, you might better move because they're coming all around the state."

And, they're on the way to Augusta now, too, he says.

"We've ordered a contract, right now we're just going to look at five intersections and just come up with concepts," Cassell said.

Some cities like North Augusta already have traffic circles, but now the question on many people's minds in Augusta is why the need for Augusta to go in circles too?

"They've been shown to reduce accidents, especially serious accidents in the 70 to 80 percent range," Cassell said.

But not everyone is so sure the new design is the right way to go.

"There's going to be more accidents," said Edward Shepherd, who depends on his bicycle to get around.

Shepherd says he's worried the roundabouts will create confusion, leading to more bicycle accidents.

"With the four way, we got stop signs, we got lights, the circles there won't be no lights, so they ain't got to stop, so they can just run you over," he said.

But others say, the more modern intersections will be a great addition to Augusta.

"I think it would actually be an upgrade for us. Augusta has been the same for so long it would be good to see something different," said Bishop Gracie Jackson.

"It's eliminating that crossing traffic, where you're going to get your serious T-boning accidents from red light running or four-way stop running," Cassell said.

He also says the roundabouts could help save money, too.

"Their lifespans are a lot longer, and as tax dollars get tight, and everything, you're looking for low maintenance operations and alternatives," he said.

Part of the funds for the project are expected to come from SPLOST and some from TSPLOST. The director says we can probably expect construction to begin in about a year and half if all of the plans are approved.

The city is planning to add roundabouts at Wheeler and Aumond Road, Boy Scout and Skinner Mill Road, North Leg at Milledgeville Road, Laney Walker at Druid Avenue and Monte Sano at Central Avenue.

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