Officials herald opening of first roundabout in Warner Robins

wcrenshaw@macon.comDecember 27, 2013 

WARNER ROBINS -- Officials cut the ribbon on the city’s first roundabout Friday, with work on a second expected to begin soon.

The roundabout, at the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Wellborn Road, opened a week earlier. So far motorists seem to have adapted, as cars steadily went through it with no problem prior to the ceremony. A police officer said there have been no accidents since it opened.

Winston Lawson, who has owned Gate 5 Barber and Beauty Shop on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard for 25 years, attended the ceremony and said he is glad to see the roundabout open. The construction slowed down his business because it closed off the intersection, but he believes it will ultimately help.

“It’s going to enhance the traffic that flows from various areas toward Robins Air Force Base,” he said. “I think we will see a lot of people coming just to view the roundabout, and maybe some will come to Gate 5 to get a haircut.”

Work on a second roundabout at the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. and University boulevards is expected to begin within a couple of weeks.

Mayor Chuck Shaheen began his comments by thanking those who voted for the 2001 special purpose local option sales tax, which funded the project.

The two roundabouts together are expected to cost about $600,000, City Engineer Walter Gray said. He said the roundabout at Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Wellborn Road is a big improvement over the previous intersection and should help move traffic better.

“You had a really strange intersection here,” he said. “Roundabouts have been proven to be much safer than even signalized intersections or stop signs.”

The intersection was specifically chosen for the city’s first roundabout to give motorists some time to get used to it in a relatively low traffic area.

The center of the roundabout is encircled by what looks like a wide sidewalk but is actually there as a buffer for large trucks that may run over the edges.

Houston County Commission Chairman Tommy Stalnaker attended the ceremony and said the county is considering a roundabout at the intersection of Dunbar Road and Carl Vinson Parkway as part of a widening project.

To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.

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