Wheeler roundabout prep work begins

AUGUSTA, Ga (WJBF) – The busy intersection of Wheeler and Aumond Roads is looking busier, though some regular drivers aren’t happy about what’s on the way.

“I can’t stand those, I absolutely hate them, but it may help,” said Latoya O’Neal.

What’s expected to help is the long awaited traffic circle.

Work crews are clearing trees to allow for the removal of utility poles.

Work was expected to begin after last year’s Masters  but right of way issues and the utility work got delayed it. But now that’s no longer the issue.

“We should have everything in place, way before the Masters we can go full bore on construction after that,” said Engineering Department Director Hameed Malik.

The project means a loss of some trees and yard at Gloria Norwood’s home on the corner, but after years of waiting she’s ready to go.

“I’m delighted, I think it’s going to improve the intersection, we have 13 thousand cars a day goes through the intersection, I did not count them the officials did, I think it will make us slow down and it will be safer,” she said.

Traffic Engineers say roundabouts reduce the dangerous T-bone accidents, and helps reduce confusion at four-way stops, even though for many Augusta area drivers roundabouts are not the norm.

“Well once people get used to it I think it will be great, because people can be almost in constant motion so it’s not going to slow them down without having to stop at certain places,” said Trina Martin.

That sounds like something Augusta drivers could embrace but it will take time.

“We had seven or eight  wrecks last year I hope it will cut down on that it’s just going to be a matter of getting used to it like getting use to your I phone,” said Norwood.

Utility and tree work first, construction crews do not plan to be in the intersection until after Masters, since a lot of traffic passes that way.

If you think we’ve been talking about this round about for a long time, it’s true. The million dollars in funding for it was approved in SPLOST 6 in 2009, now almost nine years ago.

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