A list of five intersections considered for circular intersections called roundabouts could be narrowed to three after public comment sessions that will begin Tuesday night.
Funding could limit the number of roundabouts constructed, said Augusta traffic engineer Steve Cassell. About $2 million is available from the special purpose local option sales tax, which would build two roundabouts. More funding could be requested in the next tax phase.
A roundabout at Druid Park Avenue and Laney-Walker Boulevard near Paine College is proposed as part of a larger project funded by the 1 percent tax specifically for transportation projects. The other proposed roundabout sites are Milledgeville Road at North Leg and Old McDuffie Road; Boy Scout at Skinner Mill roads; Wheeler at Aumond roads; and Central at Monte Sano avenues.
A roundabout is a circular road around a central island on which all traffic flows counterclockwise. Traffic entering a roundabout yields the right of way to traffic already in the roundabout.
Cassell said the five intersections were chosen because they represent different uses for roundabouts, either in areas with heavy pedestrian traffic, high vehicle volumes, commercial areas, accident-prone intersections or for aesthetic improvements.
“Roundabouts are good for replacing four-way stops and signalization,” he said.
Just one intersection in Augusta has a roundabout, but they are becoming more common across the nation and Georgia. State traffic regulations require roundabouts for intersection improvements unless it is proved that they are not the best solution.
“You have to show, at least on state routes, that a roundabout doesn’t work or doesn’t make sense before they let you put a new signal in,” Cassell said.
Roundabouts reduce the risk of right-angle car collisions, Cassell said.
Public information open houses will help residents learn more about the proposals, Cassell said. Construction could begin in late 2014.