Navigating two of Bulloch County’s most challenging intersections will soon be easier with the construction of single –lane traffic circles, or “roundabouts.”
Construction of the roundabouts at the Burkhalter-Langston Chapel Road corridor, southeast of the Statesboro city limits, and the Pretoria Rushing Road intersection at Burkhalter Road, is expected to begin as soon as Feb. 25, said Bulloch County Manager Tom Couch.
The projects are estimated to be finished by mid-August, “weather permitting,” he said.
The project at Pretoria Rushing Road (county road 342) at Burkhalter Road (county road 585) will include a “single lane, four-way traffic circle with a bike-pedestrian integration with the S&S Greenway/Multi-Use Trail,” he said.
The project was awarded to Ellis Wood Contracting of Statesboro at a bid of $640,344.
The project at Burkhalter Road (county roads 585/248) and Langston Chapel Road (county road 233) will be a single-lane three-way traffic circle, Couch said.
The contract for this project was awarded to Mill Creek Contracting of Statesboro at a bid of $460,200.
Long range planning
The roundabouts have been in the works since March 2009 when Bulloch County adopted its second Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) that outlined the community’s transportation objectives and funding priorities, Couch said.
“The plan included a sub-area study that recommended traffic circles along this corridor as high priority projects for improving the operation and safety of these intersections as well as providing pedestrian facilities, where warranted.”
A traffic-circle is an intersection where drivers travel counterclockwise around a raised center island. The circular shape is designed to control the direction of traffic, create awareness of the changing road pattern and reduce speeds to 15 to 20 mph. It also reduces the likelihood of right angle or head-on collisions, he said.
In addition to the central island, the traffic circle’s other features are triangular splitter islands designed to slow and direct traffic. The splitters also provide a refuge for pedestrians.
“This means pedestrians can choose to cross one direction of traffic at a time and have a safe place to wait before crossing another direction of traffic,” he said.
There are no signal lights, or stop signs in a traffic circle. Drivers yield to other motorist who have entered the traffic circle, then enter the intersection and exit at their desired street. The traffic circle is designed to accommodate vehicles of all sizes, including emergency vehicles, buses, and truck and trailer combinations, Couch said.
The roundabouts should make traveling these areas safer, he said.
Safer, less expensive
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, replacing traffic signals or stop signs with traffic circles reduce crashes resulting in injuries by 80 percent and all crashes by up to 47 percent in the U.S.
“Traffic circles are also less expensive to operate in the long term as compared with signalized intersections since they do not have the maintenance or electricity costs associated with them,” he said.
EMC Engineering of Statesboro is the consulting engineer and construction manager, and will be aided with additional monitoring by county staff. The projects are locally funded with SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) 2013 proceeds.
Drivers encountering these intersections during the construction period, especially during high-traffic times, should expect to meet with “partial lane closures, or diversions. Detours are not expected at this time,” he said.”However, if detours become necessary, the public will be notified in advance.”
Traffic will be controlled through the work zone via signs, message boards, traffic control devices, and flagging crews. “Please use extra caution when approaching the work zones,” he said.
Bulloch County Commission Chairman Roy Thompson urges drivers to be cautious when navigating these areas.
“When completed, these proposed improvements will moderate the flow of traffic while also providing safer and more efficient intersections for everyone,” he said. “We ask all motorists to exercise patience as work progresses in coming months.”
If any further information is necessary for drivers, Couch will notify residents of significant delays, diversion or detours, as well as project status, via reports to the media or project updates on the Bulloch County website (www.bullochcounty.net).
Information will also be posted on the
Bulloch County Board of Commissioners Facebook page.