Spinning our Wheels

Spinning our Wheels is a commuting blog about the challenges of getting around Atlanta by car, bus, MARTA, bicycles and on foot written by transportation reporter David Wickert

Roundabouts coming to Riverside Drive

Sandy Springs commuters can expect major construction near I-285 and Riverside Drive in coming months as two roundabouts are being installed on either side of the interchange.

Construction on the $5.6 million project was to have begun Monday, weather permitting, and will last day and night until November. However, lane closures will be limited to weeknights between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m., and weekends from 8 p.m. until 10 a.m.

Currently, Riverside Drive at I-285 is one lane in both directions with no turn lanes. There are traffic signals at the entrance and exit ramps. Vehicles often block traffic while traveling through the intersection.

Two lanes will feed into the roundabout with one lane used to enter and one lane to be used as a right turn lane. The project includes adding sidewalks on both sides of Riverside Drive.

Roundabouts are designed to improve safety by reducing speeds at the intersection, giving drivers more time to react. They are still relatively new to Georgia, but they are increasingly being used to improve intersections around the state, with 145 of them constructed since 2005, more than 110 in various stages of design, and more than 20 currently under construction.

Crash data from 2008 through 2012 showed that 73 crashes occurred at the Riverside Drive and I-285 intersection -- 16 of which caused injuries, said Kathy Zahul, a GDOT District Engineer.

To see a map of other locations where roundabouts are built or planned, click here: http://www.myajc.com/news/roundabouts-map/

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