Hwy. 16:42 Roundabout.jpg

The Georgia Department of Transportation has agreed to hold a public open house on the proposal to change the intersection at Hwy. 16/42 in Jackson to a roundabout following a letter from the city council.

In response to a letter from Jackson City Council members to the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) asking for work to stop and more study be done on the proposed roundabout at Ga. Highway 16 and Ga. Highway 42, GDOT has responded that it will hold a public open house on the project sometime in September.

The letter was writing by council member Ricky “P-Nut” Johnson and approved by a 4-1 vote at the council’s June 16 meeting. Johnson and fellow council members Beth Weaver, Theodore Patterson, and Lewis Sims signed the letter on July 7. Council members Don Cook and Mayor Kay Pippin, who opposed sending the letter, did not sign it.

Johnson said he has received multiple complaints about the plans for the roundabout in the last several months.

“This actually started right as we went out on the COVID-19 hiatus, and several people in my district who live or own property or businesses are just now receiving plans that GDOT approved,” Johnson said. “As a result, they feel that the roundabout proposed at Hwy. 16 at Hwy. 42/Brookwood Avenue is too small.

“I want to simply make a motion to ask the GDOT to cease all work on the roundabout until there can be more study on the proposed roundabout and its intended purpose.”

Pippin was opposed to the letter due to the past history of Jackson not being able to make up its mind on road projects and her concern that GDOT could just walk away from the project.

But the council approved sending the letter over her objection.

The city received GDOT’s response in a letter dated Aug. 7 from Albert Shelley, the director of program delivery for the state transportation department.

In the letter, Shelley wrote about the benefits of roundabouts over conventional intersections, stating that where roundabouts have been installed in Georgia, accidents of all types have been reduced by 35% and accidents with injuries have been reduced by 60%.

Shelley went on to say that GDOT’s study of the proposed roundabout estimates that traffic volume is expected to increase there between 2020 and 2040 with significant delays if nothing is done, and said the roundabout is expected to decrease delays by 44% in the morning peak hour and by 66% in the evening peak hour.

Shelley said the study also showed that a single lane 100-foot diameter roundabout design was the preferred alternative, and that a larger 120-foot diameter roundabout was too large and would “significantly increase the impact to surrounding properties.”

Shelley wrote that GDOT wants to “ensure that all members of the community are adequately notified and able to access project information to provide input on projects. A public information open house will be scheduled in September 2020 to inform the public of the proposed project, gather information and receive comments from the public. The meeting will be announce via multi-media methods with invitations being extended to both Butts County and city of Jackson as well as other major stakeholders identified in the area.”

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