Safety and traffic flow concerns are the impetus for roundabouts that will replace intersection signals on Riverside Drive’s I-285 interchange, says a Georgia Department of Transportation official.
While roundabouts are “very popular in other parts of the country,” they’re new to most commuters in the Atlanta area who “tend to be nervous” about the change, said David Spear, GDOT press secretary.
He explained that roundabouts “improve safety and traffic flow” over signalized intersections where there is stop- and-go traffic. “Once you get into the flow it’s much simpler,” he said.
Spear was on hand at a workshop at Sandy Springs City Hall on March 25 that was held to educate residents on the project and proposed detours.
The GDOT plans to accept bids for the design and build project this fall, with construction expected to begin next spring.
Darcy White, a resident of the Riverside area, says she goes through the intersections to and from work every day.
“I like the idea in general, but I worry it might bring additional traffic flow,” she said, adding that she hopes tutorials on how to use the roundabouts will be held for drivers new to the concept. “I lived in the Northeast where they are pretty prevalent. Let’s hope it works here.”
The project will involve replacing the ramps on both sides of I-285 with single-lane roundabouts. A sidewalk will be added to both sides of Riverside in the project’s limits, and decorative lighting will be installed on the roundabouts.
As part of the project, the Riverside Drive bridge over I-285 will be improved and shut down for two weekends during the summer. Proposed detours would guide drivers to Heards Ferry Road and Mount Vernon Highway.
The public is invited to make written comments about the project. Comments can be mailed to Hiral Patel, P.E., State Environmental Adminstrator, Georgia Department of Transportation, 600 West Peachtree St., NW, 16th Floor, Atlanta, Ga., 30308. Comments can also be made online at www.dot.ga.gov by clicking on “Public Outreach” in the “Information Center” dropdown menu at the top right of the page.
A set of plans will be available for review at Sandy Springs City Hall, 7840 Roswell Road.
“It’s a learning process,” said GDOT’s Spear. He added that the roundabout project is actually an interim improvement, and that long term, the department plans a major reconstruction of I-285’s top end.
“But until we do that, we’ve got a fair amount of time to look at safety and traffic flow improvements,” he said.