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Posted: April 7, 2011 5:15 p.m.

Newton County could get four roundabouts

Roundabouts have seen enough success across Georgia that the federal government wants to provide full funding for four more of the continuous-flow, circular intersections within Newton County.

State transportation oficials identified four locations for roundabouts in Newton County:
- Ga. Highway 11 and U.S. Highway 278
- Ga. 11 and Ga. Highway 142
- Ga. Highway 81 and Salem Road
- Ga. Highway 162 and Ga. Highway 212

The Newton County Board of Commissioners unanimously agreed Tuesday to allow the roundabouts to be built.

All four intersections are four-way stops and are either at or nearing their traffic capacity, said state transportation spokeswoman Cissy McNure. Single-lane roundabouts are designed to handle an average daily traffic count of 25,000 cars or less.

The construction for the roundabouts would covered entirely by the state using federal government monies, and Newton County would only have to pay for lighting of the roundabout and landscaping maintenance.

County Chairman Kathy Morgan said she was told the lighting would not be as extensive as the lighting at the Turner Lake Road roundabout in Covington and that each intersection's lighting would only cost about the same as a traditional street light.

McNure said that federal money is available for the roundabouts, but a more in-depth traffic engineering study must be completed at each location to confirm that a roundabout is an appropriate change.

No timetable was given for construction, but Morgan said she was told they would likely be built within the next two years.

Three of the four roundabouts are in District 1, and Commissioner Mort Ewing supported them, but he did ask Morgan to send a letter to the state asking it to take into account the Brick Store area's master plan when designing the roundabout at the intersection of Ga. 11 and U.S. 278.

That plan calls for portion of Ga. 11 and U.S. 278 to eventually be expanded to four lanes in that area, Ewing said.

Covington's roundabout at the intersection of Turner Lake Road and Clark Street opened Nov. 30, and despite initial skepticism, reviews have been generally positive, based on reader comments. To read that initial story and see a graphic about how a roundabout works check out this PDF - http://media.morristechnology.com/webmedia/upload/covington_news/article/2010/11/27/Roundabout.pdf

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