The city is close to being able to start work on the elaborate $2.7 million roundabout at the intersection of River Road, Bradley Park Drive, Green Island Drive and Cascade Road, Deputy City Manager Pam Hodge said.
“The design is complete,” Hodge said. “We’re just waiting on information from the utilities so we can take the plans to (the Georgia Department of Transportation) so we can get permits.”
After that, Hodge said, it will be time to put the project out for bids.
When actual construction will begin is difficult to predict, Hodge said.
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The project was unveiled last February at a public meeting at nearby Wynnbrook Baptist Church. At the time, officials said the plans were almost complete and the city was in the process of acquiring the rights of way necessary to build the roundabout. Construction was expected to begin early this year and take about 18 months to complete.
Because the intersection involves four roads instead of the usual two, and with one of them being a major thoroughfare, the design is more elaborate than most roundabouts. But the projected $2.7 million cost will be split, with the state paying $1.5 million and the city paying $1.2 million. (NOTE: The original version of this story reported an incorrect total for the project.)
Roundabouts are simple, traffic calming and controlling structures that require drivers entering to yield to traffic to the left that is already in the intersection. After entering the roundabout, the driver then has the right of way and simple drives counterclockwise until he or she comes to the desired exit. They have been effective and popular in Europe for decades, but are just recently finding favor in Georgia.
Columbus Councilor Glenn Davis, who represents the area, championed getting the roundabout.
Davis has said the project will cause some traffic disruption during construction, but the plan is to keep traffic moving in all directions while it’s built. And when it’s done, traffic will move more freely and more safely, he said.
“I personally think that’s a very dangerous intersection,” Davis told residents when the plan was unveiled. “I believe it will work there and make it a safer intersection.”
There are numerous roundabouts already in use in Columbus, at the northern end of Weracoba Park, at 14th Street and Front Avenue, at Schatulga Road and Corporate Ridge Road, at Warm Springs Road and Blackmon Road and just to the north on Blackmon at the new Wal-Mart.