The Norcross Street and Warsaw Road intersection with Grimes Bridge Road and Melody Lane in Roswell, Georgia, had become a nightmare for drivers – a focal point of confusion, frustration and danger. The existing signalized intersection shuffled approximately 28,000 vehicles every day and with only one dedicated left-turn lane, drivers experienced lengthy delays during peak hours and the number of crashes had increased significantly over the years. The City of Roswell was aware of the strain the intersection had placed on the community and hired Gresham Smith to develop a plan to control and direct the traffic. Our final design solution was a single-lane, five-legged roundabout. Formerly one of the top locations for crashes in the city, the award-winning roundabout at Grimes Bridge Road is a huge improvement over the former hazardous intersection and has received overwhelmingly positive feedback from the community.
Securing Public Buy-InWhen the City of Roswell began the process of purchasing right-of-way, citizens approached the council and complained that they didn’t know anything about the new plan and wanted to be in the loop. By developing renderings, an animation, brochures, Q&A documents and fact sheets, Gresham Smith and the City were able to better engage the public on the benefits of the roundabout and gain their buy-in.
Designing a FirstOriginally, our team designed a four-legged roundabout. However, residents objected to realigning Melody Lane and we were sent back to the drawing board. The result was somewhat unique and a first for the team – a five-legged roundabout. The design improved safety by removing left turns and reducing speed, which were key contributors to accidents before.
Saving the SiteThough the roundabout was primarily focused on improving safety, aesthetics were also important to the City of Roswell community. A big tree, a church, a house and a fruit tree orchard created some site constraints, so the team shifted the roundabout’s placement to preserve each element. The project team also added a landscaping to the roundabout’s center island, enhancing the appearance of the community.
A Sustainable SolutionSome of the same design elements that make the roundabout aesthetically pleasing also contribute to its sustainability. Although not one of the original goals, the project turned out to be very sustainable and environmentally friendly. We preserved natural resources, saved trees and incorporated a water runoff drainage system. Additionally, the roundabout’s bike lane and a sidewalk system connects pedestrians to other areas of the community, adhering to the City of Roswell’s official Complete Streets policy.
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