Fayetteville held a city hall meeting Thursday night concerning two topics. The highlight of the discussion is roundabout project at Highway 92 and Hood Avenue.
Dan Davis of Integrated Science and Engineering, the city's consulting engineer for about 15 years, presented a current snapshot of where the roundabout project is. The plan to install a roundabout near the intersection of Highway 92 and 85 was approved by the city council in October 2010, with the goal of alleviating traffic through town and reducing the safety risk at one of the more dangerous intersections in the County. The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) approved the concept in November 2011, and council voted to proceed with property acquisition in January of 2012. Davis said that since then, the focus has been on working out a deal with the property and business owners at Hudson plaza.
"Hudson plaza was the key. It is very complex and involves business displacement, but an agreement has been executed and that deal should be closed in the next two to four weeks."
The businesses to be displaced are those residing in the southernmost strip of buildings in Hudson plaza, including Papa John's, Play-It-Again Sports, and Rocky's Barber shop. Those buildings will be removed to allow for a direct route across Highway 85 from Hood Avenue to Jeff Davis Drive, making that the new crossing point as opposed to where it sits currently at the terminus of Highway 92 directly across from the Michael's building. The change will require moving the traffic light down to the new intersection.
Davis said the traffic studies done on the intersection rated it poorly and also predicted it would be a problem that gets worse sooner rather than later. Davis described the 92/85 intersection as "one of the most dangerous in the County" with 74 documented accidents between 2005 and 2009, including 15 injuries and no fatalities.
For traffic engineering purposes, Davis said intersections are rated on an A through F scale. The
92/85 intersection received a "declining C," and Davis explained that traffic engineering models suggest that such an intersection does not "gradually decline into a D and F but actually drops very quickly."
Davis said that population growth had to be factored into the models, with 2.5% observed annual growth between 2010-2012, and an expectation of 1.5% annually through 2032.
Given that time frame, the newly installed roundabout should improve the intersection to a B level, with the expectation that it would maintain at least at a C level through 2032.
"Obviously we'd gain a tremendous safety improvement there," Davis added.
Davis referenced the relatively new roundabout at Grady Avenue and Beauregard Avenue as a successful improvement.
"The DOT has embraced traffic circles. Now, when an applicant desires to put a light in, they have to rule out a circle before they can put in a light."
The proposed traffic circle will be somewhat larger than the one on Grady Avenue, and there will be another circle, more comparable to that one, on the Jeff Davis side of Highway 85, near the post office and Church Street.
Davis said the process of negotiating with the businesses in Hudson Avenue had pushed the project about six months behind schedule, but was optimistic that the eventual outcome should be a win-win for the city and those businesses.
"Part of the agreement for the purchase of the property was that the owners dedicated a portion of the funds to do a facelift of the old Hudson Plaza, including landscaping and a new facade. It should help beautify the area."
The project will also impact 18 residential property owners, and most of the work negotiating with them will be done in the next two to three months, Davis said, once the Hudson Plaza deal is closed.
"We've been focused on Hudson Plaza before going any further. Without Hudson, we didn't have a project."
Davis says if everything goes to plan, construction can begin by summer of 2013 and the project could be completed by 2014.
The price tag for the improvements comes in at $9.1 million, with $7.8 out of SPLOST funds and the remainder coming from the city.