SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. — A spur road has closed and will be removed as part of an ongoing project to replace a four-way stop with a roundabout at a historic east Newton County intersection.
The two-lane spur road includes two-way traffic and runs between Georgia Hwy. 11 and U.S. Hwy. 278 — allowing motorists wanting to travel north on Hwy. 11 or west on Hwy. 278 to bypass the four-way stop at the two highways' intersection.
However, the spur road will be "milled out" — completely removed — by Pittman Construction and a temporary construction field office will be placed in the general area of the road, GDOT announced on its social media platforms.
In response to concerns the road's removal may contribute to traffic backups, a GDOT spokesman said the roundabout's design "will process vehicles more efficiently than a four-way stop during peak times."
"Also, it will be a large footprint to support oversized trucks," the spokesman said in its Facebook page.
A roundabout — sometimes called a "traffic circle" — is a circular intersection in which traffic travels counterclockwise around a central island. Vehicles entering the roundabout must yield to traffic circulating within it.
The new roundabout at Hwy. 11 and Hwy. 278 will include a 151-foot total width — or inscribed diameter — with a 20-foot wide circulating lane and a 10-foot-wide outside shoulders that will allow larger trucks to more easily traverse the circular road.
Notice to proceed with construction was given Sept. 28 for the $6.3 million project.
The historic intersection is almost a mile south of the I-20 interchange with Hwy. 11 and is near the Newton County campus of Georgia State University's Perimeter College.
Known as Hub Junction, it became a famous landmark in the decades prior to and during World War II when a gas station there served as a busy passenger transfer point for numerous bus lines traveling 278 — a major east-west highway — and Hwy. 11, a busy north-south route before I-20 was completed in the mid-1960s.
It later continued as a busy intersection after I-20 was completed — especially on weekends in the 1960s and 1970s when customers used it to travel to the nearby Hub Drive-In movie theater or the Atlanta Speed Shop drag strip off Hwy. 229.
Both businesses are now closed but traffic has increased in recent years, according to GDOT traffic counts. About 10,500 vehicles per day traveled on Hwy. 11 north of the intersection in 2021.
The intersection reportedly will remain open during construction of the roundabout, GDOT told The Newton Citizen newspaper.