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GDOT invites public input on Langston Chapel-Harville Rd. roundabout plan
This colorful but complicated illustration shows the Georgia Department of Transportation's concept for the roundabout joining Langston Chapel Road to Harville Road and Bethel Church Road.
This colorful but complicated illustration shows the Georgia Department of Transportation's concept for the roundabout joining Langston Chapel Road to Harville Road and Bethel Church Road.

The Georgia Department of Transportation is collecting comments online from the public about the proposed construction of a roundabout at the intersection of Langston Chapel Road and Harville Road south of Statesboro.

Currently, the only traffic controls at this intersection are stop signs on Langston Chapel Road and on unpaved and less-traveled Bethel Church Road, which would also join the roundabout. Harville Road now passes through unimpeded, curving sharply where it meets Langston Chapel Road.  While the Langston Chapel and Bethel Church roads would each meet the roundabout at a single point, Harville Road would intersect it from both sides, so the roundabout would have a total of four ways in and out.

This state funded and directed project on county roads is estimated to cost $3.75 million, including $2.46 million for construction, $390,000 for acquiring right of way, $180,000 for utilities and the previously authorized $720,000 for preliminary engineering.

“The roundabout option is expected to improve safety compared to the existing two-way stop-controlled intersection by eliminating the most severe angle crash  types and reducing the potential for severe injury and fatal crashes due to reduced intersection speeds,” the GDOT states in its summary of expected benefits.

June 1 is the deadline to file comments at Scroll down to find the green bar with the May 6-June 1 comment period for this project, which is numbered 0010428.

Reducing crashes

Planning for the roundabout “originated from the need to address a total of 25 crashes that were reported between 2012 and 2016,” the Georgia DOT states on the project page. Seven of those crashes resulted in at least one person being injured, but no deaths were reported from crashes at the intersection during the four-year period analyzed.

The 25 accidents were mainly of two kinds, the summary states, with 48% having been angle collisions and 44% rear-end collisions. Two crashes, or 8% of the total, were attributed to vehicles running off the road into the ditch.

A traffic engineering study looked  at traffic volumes at peak periods, the crash history and road geometry. The study compared the effects a traffic signal and a “roundabout alternative” would have.

“The yielding behavior at a roundabout would exhibit less vehicle stops” and reduce “delay, noise and fuel consumption,” the Georgia Department of Transportation asserts, again in the summary of expected benefits.


Slated for 2023

The department is authorized to begin acquiring right of way this September. The project is slated to be advertised in December 2022, so summer 2023 is probably the earliest actual construction would occur, said Georgia DOT Project Manager Travis Williams.

But the comment period is underway now and ends in less than two weeks. The website summary suggests that the project could be altered or abandoned, “the no build alternative,” based on public input, but it would otherwise proceed to right of way acquisition.

The roundabout would consist of 20-foot-wide circulatory roadway, with an elliptical island in the middle surrounded by a truck apron, a slightly raised surface that large trucks can run over to negotiate the turns.  Curb-and-gutter would be installed around the outside of the oval and inside the truck apron.

As at other roundabouts, there would be no signal lights, only signs. These would include roundabout signs, with three arrows in circle and an indication of 25 mph as the safe speed inside the roundabout, dropping from speed limits of 45 and 35 on the various approaches.

In the drawing, crosswalks are shown on all four approaching roadways.

The roundabout would also be lighted, as are all roundabouts in Georgia, so that motorists can see to navigate through them, Williams said.


Detours ahead

A map of proposed detours is also included on the site. These detours are expected to extend five to seven miles offsite and to last approximately 60 to 90 days when needed for actual construction.

Incidentally, the proposed new roundabout would be less than a mile east of an existing roundabout that connects Langston Chapel Road, from both directions, to a segment of Burkhalter Road.

This story is subject to update for Thursday’s edition

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