Proposed Ga. 22/Ga. 24 roundabout project appears dead
For all intents and purposes, the county commission recently shot down a proposed new roundabout project at the Ga. 22./Ga. 24 intersection in east Baldwin County.
Henry Craig, the only commissioner who ever showed any serious enthusiasm for the project, said that he was "disappointed" after failing to rally support for a "Letter of Support" from his fellow county commissioners at last Tuesday's regular meeting. A Letter of Support from a local county commission generally is required before the Georgia Department of Transportation will green light a major road project.
The project, which was slated to be constructed in either 2024 or 2025, now won't be constructed at all, unless the county commission has a change of heart later, which appears doubtful.
A rendering of the proposed "three-legged" roundabout was released last November. The "center island" was slated to be 150 feet in diameter and include raised landscaping, which is required by the DOT as a visual indicator to motorists to slow down. The roundabout also was slated include "multi purpose paths" for pedestrians and cyclists, as well as three rumble strips.
The Ga. 22/Ga. 24 roundabout would've been much larger in size and slope than the recently-completed Kings Road/Stembridge Road roundabout. County commissioners first heard some of the "conceptual" details at a meeting back in November. Jonathan Dechko, an engineering consultant, said that multiple features of the intersection currently are "substandard," including the "viewing angles," "approach angles" and "poor visibility."
“The purpose of the project is to really improve the safety of that intersection by reducing the potential of points of conflict and the potential of crashes," said Deckho, who work for Gresham Smith, a firm that works in conjunction with the DOT.
The DOT had promised to cover the entirety of the $4.1 million construction cost, and the only cost for the county government would've been the money to light the roundabout, estimated at around $3,000 annually.
Although Craig was the only commissioner to speak about the project at last week's meeting, there previously was plenty of discussion. Commissioner Sammy Hall, who's seemed opposed to the project since the start, offered his opinion at a meeting last month.
"(The Department of Transportation) in the state of Georgia has more money than anybody else. They are wealthy beyond belief," Hall said. "They want come down to Baldwin County and to stick us with a 3,000 dollar bill, which I promise you will go up."
During last Tuesday's meeting, County Manager Carlos Tobar, complete with a Power Point presentation, tried his best to pitch the project to the five commissioners.
"We have a lot to be thankful for and a lot that GDOT has done for Baldwin County," Tobar said.
Tobar and Craig essentilly "want to stay in good favor" with the DOT and don't want to potentially rock the boat.
"We need to earn a reputation of cooperation with the state, and this is a little investment over time to provide a modern, safe solution (for the intersection)," Craig said last month.
Added Tobar back in November: "I think that Baldwin is the third unincorporated rural county in the state that's (Local Administered Project) certified. We would like to maintain that positive image we have around the capital and continue to have that money flow to Baldwin County.”