Augusta engineers propose replacing 5 trouble intersections with roundabouts

AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - Traffic engineers say they've had about 20 accidents at 5 intersections in Augusta over the past year.

They're proposing to replace the trouble intersections with roundabouts because it would cut the number of accidents in half.

"You're looking at a high upfront cost," said traffic engineer Steve Cassell.

It costs about $1 million to build a roundabout; but Cassell says it would be money well spent.

"Backups are going away, you're going to reduce noise, fuel," Cassell, said.

He also says more serious accidents, such as T-bones, won't happen and the roundabouts would look a lot better than typical intersections.

At Tuesday's public hearing he explained their plans to build roundabouts at five different intersections:

Laney Walker Boulevard at Druid Park Avenue, Aumond Road at Wheeler Road, Central Avenue at Monte Sano Avenue, Boy Scout Road at Skinner Mill Road and Milledgeville Road at North Leg Road.

Two of the roundabouts would be paid for with special purpose local option sales tax, or SPLOST dollars.

Traffic engineers are still looking into where they can find funding for the other roundabouts.

Commissioner Bill Lockett could have one built in his district and he sees it as a good return on taxpayer dollars.

"I have lots of tax payers in my district. They pay taxes and I think they should be able to get something in return every once and a while," he said.

Gregory Williams is one of those taxpayers.

He drives through the Millegeville and North Leg Road intersection about 10 times a week.

He doesn't see the proposed intersection change as a matter of inconvenience but of safety.

"Anytime you're saving and slowing down traffic and improving safety, it's all worth it," said Williams.

Cassell says the roundabouts would solve traffic issues at the five intersections for the next 20 years and they'd pay for themselves much sooner.

"With the reductions in accidents and fuel savings they start to pay for themselves within 5 to 10 years," he said.

Commissioners will vote on the roundabouts by the end of this year. If they approve the projects, construction could start on the roundabouts by summer.

There will be three more public hearings about the roundabouts.

The next one will be Tuesday, October 22 at Tutt Middle School from 6 pm to 8 pm.

There will also be a hearing Thursday, October 24 at Paine College from 4 pm to 6 pm. Another hearing will be that evening from 6:30 to 8:30 at Trinity United Methodist Church.