Roundabout proposed at Five Points
by SARAH FAY CAMPBELL
A roundabout, the relocation of a portion of Turkey Creek Road, and creating cul-de-sacs from remaining portions of Turkey Creek and East Newnan roads are the preferred ways to improve the Five Points intersection of Turkey Creek, East Newnan and Poplar roads and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.
An informational open house on the plan was held by Coweta County transportation planners Thursday at Central Educational Center.
Those visiting got to see the preferred concept with the roundabout, as well as an alternate plan that contains several three-way and four-way stops. There was also an animated computer model that showed how the two different designs would function in the “design year” of 2035.
The roundabout was the overwhelming favorite of those who attended the meeting.
“We like roundabouts,” said Tisa Stripling. The alternate plan includes “way too many stop signs.”
Angie Spradlin, who takes Turkey Creek Road often to get to downtown Newnan, agreed. “I really like roundabouts,” she said. “To me, this is just stop, stop, stop,” she said of the alternate.
The roundabout plan will be more expensive, roughly 30 percent more, said Tommy Crochet of McGee Partners, the engineering consultants who put together the plans.
The roundabout plan would run Turkey Creek Road behind a row of homes, through property owned by Summer Hill Baptist Church, and it would take up quite a bit of property for the roundabout itself.
The stop sign plan would likely require the closing of a business in between Poplar and Turkey Creek because the relocated Turkey Creek would run right through its parking lot. And that adds to the cost, according to Tod Handley, Coweta’s director of transportation and engineering.
The intersection project will be a joint effort of Coweta and the city of Newnan. City and county officials and McGee Partners looked at a variety of different concepts. The stop sign plan is “alternate J.”
“That was the simplest of the other alternatives,” Handley said. “But in the design year, it doesn’t function well.”
Some of the other scenarios included moving Turkey Creek Road behind Ace Hardware, putting the roundabout east of East Newnan Road, and even using two roundabouts.
The preferred alternate “performed better than the rest of them, looking at it system-wide,” said Vern Wilburn, who worked with McGee on the traffic analysis.
The Five Points roundabout will be about 30 percent larger than the roundabout at Greison Trail to allow for large trucks.
The portion of East Newnan Road past the intersection with the new Turkey Creek Road section will become a dead-end with a cul-de-sac, as will the section of Turkey Creek between the relocation and East Newnan Road. That is being done to limit cut-through traffic in the residential area.
Everyone at the open house was invited to submit comments.
“I didn’t hear any negative comments about the roundabout,” said Michael Klahr, Newnan’s public works director.
There’s no doubt something needs to be done at the intersection, which can be confusing for those not familiar with it — especially because there is only a two-way stop, and not a three-way stop, at the East Newnan (Greison)/MLK/Poplar intersection.
Spradlin said she didn’t really think about how difficult the intersection can be until she started teaching her oldest daughter to drive. “It’s just too much going on at once.”
The plans can be viewed at the Coweta Transportation and Engineering Office at 21 East Washington Street in downtown or at Newnan City Hall at 25 LaGrange Street. The plans are also available on the county’s website, www.coweta.ga.us. Comments may be sent in writing to Handley at Coweta County Transportation and Engineering, 21 East Washington Street, Newnan, GA 30263 or Klahr at City of Newnan Public Works, 25 LaGrange Street, Newnan, GA 30263.
After all comments are in, it will be up to the Coweta County Board of Commissioners and Newnan City Council to approve a concept and move forward.
Handley estimated engineering will take about a year, with right-of-way acquisition taking six months. Hopes are to begin construction in 2015, and before work begins on the new Interstate 85 interchange at Poplar Road. Actual construction should take nine months to a year, Handley said.