CUMMING - The first roundabout at the intersection of two county roads is
now in use at the intersection of Hopewell and Jot-em-Down roads in northern Forsyth County. The project was funded by the county's current Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax program, SPLOST VI.
The roundabout constructed at Hopewell and Jot-em-Down roads, which features
pedestrian crosswalks aimed at enhancing pedestrian safety at the intersection, replaced the intersection's previous multi-way stop.
Roundabouts can have several advantages over traditional multi-way stops. One
particular advantage is that traffic at roundabouts is free flow rather than having to come to a complete stop. The free flow design makes the intersection more efficient and helps reduce backups. Assistant Director of Engineering Tim Allen was pleased to report the backup of rush hour traffic previously experienced at the intersection has improved since construction of the roundabout.
"The new roundabout keeps traffic moving much better than the previous multi-way
stop," Allen said. "This keeps cars from idling, which in turn helps reduce air pollution." Additional advantages Allen noted are the economics to build roundabouts, as they require less right-of-way, and the fact that, since they are not reliant upon power, roundabouts are not impacted by power outages as traffic signals are.
"Roundabouts are growing in popularity across the United States," Director of
Engineering John Cunard said. "Lots of cities and counties in Georgia and across the nation are designing and building roundabouts."
The Forsyth County Engineering Department reminds motorists to proceed slowly and cautiously through this intersection and to yield to traffic already in the roundabout.
Motorists should signal their turn just prior to the exit of their desired turn. The roundabout at Hopewell Road and Jot-em-Down Road has a 20-mile per hour speed limit.
Allen also provided tips for motorists who might be traversing the roundabout with a large vehicle or one pulling a trailer.
"The concrete island and red brick in the middle and on the sides of the roundabout is meant to be driven on if needed," Allen said. "It was designed to withstand being driven upon for those pulling a trailer or who need a bit more room to maneuver."
While the project, which was completed and opened in early October, is the first such roundabout constructed at the intersection of two county through roads, it is a feature that will likely appear at other county road intersections in the future.
"Implementing more roundabouts throughout the county is certainly something we will consider," Allen said. "As we plan for future intersection improvements, we will evaluate roundabouts as options to determine at which intersections they would be more effective than a traffic signal. We look at each intersection on a case-by-case basis to determine the best fit and the best way the intersection can work for motorists."