GDOT has scheduled a hearing Nov. 12 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Free Home Elementary School to solicit feedback from drivers on the potential construction, which has been estimated to cost $1 million and be complete in early 2017, said Ryan Fernandez, the GDOT project manager.
Fernandez said Friday the potential of building the roundabout to replace the intersection has been around since late 2011 and is intended to ease traffic conditions and increase safety.
“From all the way back to 2004, there seems to be an average about 10 crashes (a year, at the intersection),” Fernandez said, “which is way above the state average.”
GDOT spokesman Mohamed Arafa said Friday a roundabout might be the best way to improve the intersection of the two highways, which come together at a tight angle.
“This proposed roundabout may be the best traffic control mechanism at the intersection of these two moderate traffic volume state routes that come together at a steep skew with both horizontal and vertical curves,” he said.
Although not widely used in Cherokee County, the Federal Highway Administration has found roundabouts in general to be effective in helping intersections like the one at Highways 372 and 369, according to Arafa.
“Simply put, roundabouts at intersections of moderate volume traffic, such as the current intersection, help improve the flow of traffic and make it safer,” Arafa said. “They are generally navigated at slower speeds, which correlate with lower impact, less severe crashes.”
And the meeting point of Highways 372 and 369, also known as Ball Ground Road and Hightower Road respectively, might just need that type of help.
In terms of traffic, Fernandez said GDOT’s evaluations show the often-busy crossing is operating at a level of “F.”
Fernandez said residents in attendance at the hearing Nov. 12 will be able to view a presentation of how GDOT plans to fix that issue with the roundabout.