Something happened at the intersection of Grady Avenue and Beauregard Avenue in Fayetteville Aug. 5 that could never have happened since the time when the four-way stop was installed years ago.
And with that event the long lines at the four-way stop are now a thing of the past.
It was on Friday afternoon that the new roundabout opened and, at one point minutes later, the advantage of the new intersection became obvious when nine vehicles passed through the intersection in 12 seconds.
City Director of Public Services Don Easterbrook said the Grady Avenue/Beauregard Avenue roundabout was designed to promote the free-flow of traffic at one of the city’s busiest local intersections. Grady Avenue is a frequently used connector for Ga. highways 54 and 85, enabling motorists to bypass the often congested downtown area.
Having opened as scheduled during the first week of August, the roundabout is configured with an interior landscaped island that is 47 feet in diameter surrounded by a 17-foot-wide drivable truck apron of stamped concrete resembling cobblestone and, finally, and outer asphalt ring that is 18 feet in width. The project also included 4-6-foot brick screen walls on the northwest and southeast sides of the intersection.
A large number of flowers, shrubs and small trees will be planted over the next couple of weeks.
Another facet of the roundabout project concerns Grady Avenue as it heads east and intersects with Ga. Highway 85 a short distance away. The city is in process of moving ahead with a project to install a southbound right turn lane onto Hwy. 85 South, extend the Grady Avenue northbound left turn lane onto Hwy. 85 North and to potentially alter the timing of the traffic signal.
The reason for this portion of the project is the potential that, with the flow of traffic no longer impeded by the long waits at the stop sign a couple of blocks to the west, vehicles headed east on Grady might need to be accommodated with additional traffic flow measures to make sure that area does not experience tie-ups.
Georgia Dept. of Transportation staff are out this week to review the potential for adjusting the timing of the traffic signal at Hwy. 85 and Grady, said City Manager Joe Morton.
The city’s aim in installing a roundabout as opposed to a traffic signal involved more than the long-standing problem of traffic flow at the intersection, Easterbrook said.
“The purpose and need of this project is to improve traffic conditions and safety at this busy intersection while preserving the historic and residential land use characteristics of the surrounding area. The use of a traffic signal in this area, which promotes a more commercial style land use, was considered but declined by the city,” said Easterbrook.
The $553,000 project is funded through the city’s Impact Fee Fund.
The proposal for the roundabout came from a 2007 Downtown Fayetteville Traffic Study. A portion of the study noted the declining effectiveness of the Grady/Beauregard intersection during peak travel hours and school-zone periods.