The intersection of Burkhalter and Pretoria Rushing roads might become much busier within a couple of years.
Housing developments are already close to either side of Pretoria Rushing on Burkhalter, and the northeast corner of the intersection itself was approved several years ago for a convenience store with a gas station.
Originally, it was planned to be a Clyde’s, but the property has since been sold and, County Manager Tom Couch told the county commissioners at their May 20 meeting, it’s a strong likelihood a Parker’s is headed for that corner.
And near that, county Planning and Zoning has already recommended approval of the rezoning of land near where the convenience store with gas station is slated for a 500-unit housing development. The commissioners are expected to consider the rezoning as soon as June, Couch said.
The first phase of that development could be 50-100 units, a combination of single- and multi-family.
“If at the same time, the convenience store is constructed — and there’s a stronger likelihood based on the information that I have that that would come sooner than later — the traffic impacts of the convenience store are nearly equal to the entire residential development,” Couch said. “It generates a lot of traffic.”
The intersection currently is a four-way stop. Improvement options include adding turn lanes and keeping it a four-way stop, adding a traffic light or converting the intersection into a roundabout.
The roundabout, though more expensive than the roughly $300,000 for an improved four-way stop, seemed to be the one commissioners favored. That option was in the $500,000-$600,000 range, and Couch said the county has about $800,000 set aside to improve this intersection.
“I agree with Mr. (Walter) Gibson that the roundabout proposal could be best in the long run,” commission Chairman Garrett Nevil said, noting his fellow commissioner’s support. “And my thoughts on that are, right now, a four-way stop would be the least expensive. However, as projected, there’s going to be more growth in the area and, probably, traffic’s going to increase in that area. So if it does and at some time in the future it does warrant a traffic light or something different from a four-way stop … that would be an additional cost to whatever we spend at this time. That would be somewhat wasted. If a roundabout would remedy the situation now and whatever the future may bring, that may be the least expensive option to go with.”
Nevil added that while roundabouts are new to Georgia, his understanding from the Georgia Department of Transportation is those that have been put in have been well-received by motorists after they get used to the new traffic pattern a roundabout creates.
Based on that feedback, Couch said he and county staff will begin the process of procuring an engineer to design the roundabout.
Jason Wermers may be reached at (912) 489-9431.