Roundabout planned at Salem and Browns Mill roads

The Georgia Department of Transportation is planning to build a roundabout at the intersection of Browns Mill Road and Salem Road.

Roundabout planned at Salem and Browns Mill roads

The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) expects to complete the traffic circle at Browns Mill and Salem roads by June 30, 2020.

Motorists who have to turn onto Salem Road from Browns Mill Road in Stonecrest will soon navigate a roundabout to do it.

Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) began work on the new traffic circle in January and expects to complete it by June 30, 2020.

The nearly half-mile-long project, which will cost more than $5.9 million, will include two 12-foot lanes, 5-foot sidewalks, 4-foot bike lanes, pedestrian crosswalks, lighting and landscaping. It will also create a dedicated eft turn lane from Browns Mill Road into Browns Mill Elementary School. 

Last week, trees were removed from the along the right of way on Browns Mill Road (Ga. 212).

The project has been a long time coming. Residents and the South Lithonia Neighborhood Coalition had lobbied DeKalb County and GDOT for more than a decade for a traffic light at the busy intersection, which serves motorists headed to places that include Browns Mill Elementary School, Browns Mill Recreation Center, and the Browns Mill Water Park.

Contractor CMES Inc. is managing the construction.

Nationally, intersection crashes account for 40 percent of all reported crashes and about 20 percent of traffic fatalities. 

GDOT says the intersection which handles about 11,025 vehicles daily,  had 38 crashes resulting in 28 injuries in the four years between 2004 and 2008.

"Studies have shown that the installation of a roundabout results in nearly 80 percent reduction in fatal and serious injury crashes and nearly 40 percent reduction in property damage crashes," it says, adding that the Federal Highway Administration has identified roundabouts as one of nine proven countermeasures  to accidents.

"The installation of roundabouts in comparison to traditional protective countermeasures such as traffic signals have resulted in a greater reduction in crash frequency and in many instances better operational efficiency," the agency says. "Roundabouts are generally navigated at slower speeds which correlate with lower impact, less severe crashes. A roundabout also presents fewer conflict points than a traditional intersections resulting in fewer collisions."

Statewide, GDOT has installed more than two dozen roundabouts because they offer safer and more efficient ways to get traffic through busy intersections. It says  that they also reduce fuel consumption, improve operational performance and have traffic calming effects.

Traffic circles have one-way traffic that promotes fluid transition around a central island with approaching motorists yielding to the vehicles already in the roundabout.

Before the construction is completed, GDOT is offering to neighborhood groups to prepare their members who are may be unfamiliar with using roundabouts.

"Georgia DOT is aware that some drivers, especially younger and more senior drivers, may be unfamiliar with how to drive a roundabout." it says. "We would be pleased to provide materials on how to drive through a roundabout for your community." 

For more information  and materials, contact lillian.jackson@jacobs.com.   

For more information about roundabouts, view www.youtube.com/watch?v=cNM0W3qUwx0&feature=youtu.be.