More roundabouts coming to Chattanooga, north Georgia - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

More roundabouts coming to Chattanooga, north Georgia

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By David Carroll

dcarroll@wrcbtv.com

CHATTANOOGA (WRCB)- Area drivers who now encounter an occasional roundabout will soon see several more, according to Chattanooga's city traffic engineer.

John Van Winkle tells Eyewitness News that ten new roundabouts are in various stages of design.  As many as three could enter the construction phase in the next couple of years, while about seven more await funding.

Since 2001, the city has constructed fourteen roundabouts, ranging from high traffic areas like Lake Resort Terrace and Mountain Creek Road, to smaller neighborhoods like O'Grady Drive in Lookout Valley.

Supporters say roundabouts offer safety benefits and energy savings.  Some critics say the more congested roundabouts can be a safety hazard as Americans familiarize themselves with a traffic concept originated in Europe.

With no traffic light, motorists yield on entry and then exit the circle in a roundabout's simplest single-lane form.  However, two-lane roundabouts in busier intersections can be confusing to those entering the circle for the first time. 

Here is Van Winkle's list of intersections with  planned and proposed roundabouts:

 

  • Shallowford Road at Jenkins Road
  • Cassandra Smith Road at Hamill Road
  • Igou Gap Road at Jenkins Road
  • Jersey Pike at Oakwood Drive
  • Jersey Pike at Hancock Road
  • Hickory Valley Road at Discovery Drive
  • Jersey Pike at Highway 153, both NB and SB ramps- (two roundabouts)
  • Bonny Oaks Drive at Lightfoot Mill Road
  • Shallowford Road at Airport Road

 

Van Winkle says the first three on the list "should be coming soon." The rest are subject to funding, so it would take several years for us to be able to fund and build them.  There are several others in a conceptual phase of development and it would be premature to mention them at this time."

The circles are spreading to Georgia as well, after state transportation officials decided roundabouts would be cost-effective compared to traffic lights.  In Whitfield County, roundabouts are in the works for the intersection of Dug Gap Mountain Road, Walnut Avenue and College Drive as well as the intersections of South Spring Street and Prater Mill Road near Varnell.

Van Winkle says there are always a few complaints when roundabouts first open, "but the end result is less congestion, better traffic flow and fewer crashes.  They have a lot of advantages. Even if there is a crash, it's at a lower speed, and that doesn't always happen at traffic lights."

 

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