F’ville’s first roundabout takes shape on Grady Avenue

Traffic is rerouted while Grady Avenue work is going on. Photo/Ben Nelms.

Motorists traveling through the heavily-used intersection at Grady Avenue and Beauregard Avenue in Fayetteville began using a two-month detour of the area beginning June 1.

Once re-opened by the start of school on Aug. 8, the new intersection will have a look unlike anything seen before in Fayetteville. The old four-way stop will have been replaced with a large, heavily landscaped roundabout designed to keep traffic moving in every direction.

Director of Public Services Don Easterbrook said the Grady Avenue/Beauregard Avenue roundabout is designed to promote the free flow of traffic at one of the city’s busiest local intersections. Grady Avenue is a frequently used connector to Ga. Highway 54 and Ga. Highway 85 enabling motorists to bypass the often congested downtown area.

Easterbrook said 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.

“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.

Easterbrook said the city is also working on a conceptual design of the Grady Avenue/Hwy. 85 intersection if the increased traffic flow from the roundabout necessitates changes at that intersection. The conceptual design includes a southbound right turn lane onto Hwy. 85 South, lengthening of the Grady Avenue northbound left turn lane onto Hwy. 85 North and alternatives to the timing of the traffic signal.

Aside from being “round” to keep traffic flowing, how is the roundabout designed and how will it fit into the local landscape?

Easterbrook said there will be an interior grassed island 47 feet in diameter immediately surrounded by a 17-foot-wide drivable truck apron for vehicles with limited turning radius. The truck apron will be constructed of stamped concrete that will resemble cobblestone, according to Integrated Science & Engineering consultant Jason Walls.

The outer asphalt ring, at 18 feet wide, will be for the regular traffic flow.

In all, the large radius of the roundabout from the center of the island to the outside of the asphalt ring will be approximately 60 feet, Easterbrook said.

Each side of Beauregard and Grady approaching the roundabout will come with a feature not always seen with roundabouts. Traffic entering and exiting the roundabout from three of the four sides will be separated by a small triangular-shaped median, with the west side of Grady being outfitted with two small medians. Crosswalks and sidewalks will also be added to designated portions of the intersection.

Although roundabouts by their design have right turn-only lanes, Grady Avenue as it approaches the roundabout from the west will have the customary right turn lane and a second lane that splits off and travels directly into the roundabout, thereby potentially reducing the traffic back-ups so frequent on that side of the intersection.

The landscape plan for the intersection was designed by Peachtree City landscape architect Dennis Drewyer. A sampling of the grass and low-lying, flowering plants that will be installed in the center of the roundabout include hydrangeas, Knockout roses, Big Blue liriope, holly, Loropetalum azaleas and Stela d’Oro daylilies.

A number of trees and existing plants had to be removed to install the large roundabout. In their place and on each of the four sides of sides of the intersection will be a wealth of new plant material. The height of the shrubs will be kept to a minimum so as not to obstruct the view of motorists entering the roundabout area, Drewyer said.

A sampling of plants to be installed along the roundabout’s perimeter includes all the varieties in the interior island along with a large number of Indian hawthorne, Willow oak, Wax myrtle, Okame cherry, Little Gem magnolia, Dwarf Burford holly, Kousa dogwood, Blue Pacific juniper, Camelia sansqua, cryptomeria, maiden grass and sod.

Information on roundabouts from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) notes than in locations where roundabouts have replaced traffic signals or stop signs there was a 39 percent decrease in traffic accidents, a 76 percent decrease in injuries from accidents and 90 percent decrease in fatalities and/or incapacitating injuries resulting from accidents.

IIHS also said vehicle delays were reduced 62-74 percent.

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.

The bid for the $553,000 project was awarded in March. The project award went to Southeastern Site Development, Inc. with a bid amount of $552,772.39. The Southeastern bid was the second lowest of seven bids received. Southeastern won the bid after consulting engineering firm Integrated Science and Engineering reviewed the bids and found that the low bidder had omitted some of the bid items.

The roundabout project is funded through the city’s Impact Fee Fund. Easterbrook said there will be a projected shortfall of $191,000 that will be covered by remaining funds in the Lafayette Ave. Extension project that was recently put on hold.

abacus2
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much safer

Roundabouts are much safer because there are no left turns. If I remember correctly, left turns have the highest rate for fatalities, especially among older drivers. I learned to use roundabouts in Great Britain - it felt odd at first, but I noticed it did keep traffic flowing, and if you miss your turn, so what? Just go around again. Keep an open mind and I bet you'll ask why we don't have more of them.

Newsboy
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FYI

It's not "the dump" ... it's a "solid waste transfer facility" (ahem). But seriously, my grandfather farmed 100 acres that straddled both sides of Grady trhu the 1970s. My grandmother lived on the remaining 45+ acres on the north side of Grady until she passed away in 2001 (the delayed "Stella's Place" development). I am sure they would both be amazed at the site of a "roundabout" on what, before the 1970s, was little more than a 1-lane dirt trail.

Royberns
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Roundabouts from hell

I have driven in countries that use roundabouts to create traffic confusion. Oh my! The engineer that invented the first roundabout must be residing in hell.

BHH
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Royberns, they take no electricity.

Just more attentive drivers.

No idiot lights to pay for.

That's an extreme cost savings over time.

Spyglass
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Agreed on all points..

They move traffic much better too..

Royberns
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Attentive Drivers?

This appears to be a Half Million dollar project. That would buy a lot of electricity for a much safer intersection. We hope there are enough attentive drivers to make it work,,,, keep your fingers crossed. I can see road rage in the making.

Robert W. Morgan
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Agree, roundabouts are great!

Not the one in a turban, but the big round ones on the ground that are a great alternative to traffic lights and even 4-way stops.
Use them all the time in Hilton Head and up north. They work fine if they are large enough - the one at Braelinn is too small - and that's the only disadvantage, they use up a lot of land. Probably not good to have one near a high school with a bunch of 16-year old drivers either.

Gene61
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F’ville’s first roundabout takes shape on Grady Avenue

Stupid idea..Oh well, no one listens to the people, they're going to do whaever they want to.. Just another reason to use Alternative routes.

hutch866
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The Grady Roundabout

A friend of mine with AT&T told me there was no way this will be finished on time since there was some kind of change made and AT&T hasn't even began moving their lines.

On the other hand it's really quite funny watching people drive by three BIG barriers with NO THRU TRAFFIC signs on them, and three orange traffic signs that say road closed 1500, 1000, and 500 feet ahead, just to find out SURPRISE, you can't get through here.

roundabout
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hutch

My name is not Grady Roundabout, but I assume that those signs can't be on state road 54!
They can't block the route to the homes there, the school, the businesses, and to the trash dump. I would route everyone out to the dump and back!

What is your suggestion? Maybe, "TURNAROUND HERE ^ TO MISS THE UNDER CONSTRUCTION ROUNDABOUT (no kin to roundabout) AHEAD WHICH IS CLOSED."

phil sukalewski
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Does anyone know how much

Does anyone know how much additional cost was incurred for the land acquisition that was needed for this roundabout?

Also, while the city is at it - How about combining the 35 MPH and 25 MPH During School Hours speed limit signs on West bound Grady onto a single pole. I often read the 35 MPH sign and miss the 25 MPH because it is posted only a few feet further down (and right as the road turns).

Lastly, how about adding some right turn only signs during school hours for the entrances onto Grady from the school and the road from the dump. With the new roundabout, the traffic flow will be constant; which will make very difficult for cars to make a left turn onto Grady during the busy morning.

roundabout
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Phil

I think that additional land was owned by the same people who own the land near the WBP and 54! Second cousins I think to the Commissioners.

Please see my idea for th Grady Roundabout with a comment to hutch.

ginga1414
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Believe It Or Not, Roundabout

You are so right about who owns some of the property that was bought for the Grady Roundabout!

roundabout
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ginga

Why I'll bet you if you research it you would find that Sambo may own some of that property also! Him or a Redwine.

Spyglass
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Not sure, but traffic signals aren't free either....

I like the idea of a roundabout. MUCH easier to navigate for anyone with decent driving skills. :)

roundabout
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Spyglass

Yes, traffic lights are very expensive---must be priced by the same people who bid hardtop paving. Way out of line.

I also can foresee some who will get on that roundabout and never figure out how to get off--just keep on going around and around.

A Braves baseball player from S. America once did that for four hours on I-285, trying to find the ball park.

How did we ever get to the moon and invent GPS? Not to mention guided missiles and Drones! And cell phones?

We used to have a few "innovators." Then along came the new math and poor schools.
We buy them from Asia and Germany now.

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