The Georgia Department of Transportation unveiled plans on June 18 for a major redo of the west end of Cloud Springs Road, including two roundabouts — one at Cloud Springs Road and Cross Street and one at Cloud Springs Road and Fant Drive.
The roundabout at Cross Street will be four ways and the one at Fant Drive will be three.
Chickamauga resident Dennis Malone, who is an engineer, says he’s a fan of roundabouts and has seen them work well in Chattanooga.
“There’s a little learning curve to get used to them,” says Malone. “But once people do, traffic flows smoother and it’s safer.”
Malone says that if an accident does occur in a roundabout, it’s usually less severe. “Instead of cars hitting head-on or at a right angle, they run into each at less deadly or damaging angles, which is an important safety factor.”
Literature from GDOT says that roundabouts “reduce the number of points vehicles cross paths,” which is what reduces the chances of more dangerous collisions.
The literature also says roundabouts increase efficiency, promote safer speeds that give drivers more time to react and, in the long-run, save money by eliminating the cost of maintaining traffic lights.
GDOT says that roundabouts are safer for bicyclists and pedestrians, too.
While the roundabouts planned for Cloud Springs Road are 10 years in the future, it’s not a bad idea to ponder some tips for using them. Here’s what GDOT has to say:
♦ Before entering a roundabout, look to the left. Yield to any traffic that is in the roundabout.
♦ When you see a sufficient space before the next approaching vehicle to your left, enter the roundabout by turning/bearing right.
♦ Once in a roundabout, turn/bear right onto whichever leg of the roundabout you wish to get off on.
♦ Pedestrians have the right of way in Georgia roundabouts♦ .
♦ Cyclists have the option of riding in traffic lanes in roundabouts or in pedestrian paths.
♦ Some roundabouts (like the one planned for Fant Drive) have dedicated, immediate right-turn lanes that are marked with arrows. If you plan to turn onto the first leg of the roundabout after you enter it, you do so from the right-turn lane. If you wish to go another direction, enter the roundabout using the lane marked with a straight arrow.
♦ Traffic in a roundabout should move as far right as possible if an emergency vehicle is passing through.