ATHENS, GA – With the successful implementation of a unique oval-shaped roundabout, the South Milledge and Whitehall Road corridor in Athens-Clarke County (ACC), Georgia now provides a safer, more efficient daily commute near the University of Georgia.
To combat traffic congestion, ACC engaged Benesch to evaluate the intersection and design the improvements. Upon completion of the intersection, commuters experienced a more streamlined commute and the project was recognized by American Council of Engineering Companies Georgia with the 2022 Engineering Excellence Honor Award.
“It is nice to be recognized by ACEC, but I take the most pride in all the public’s comments on how much they like the improvements and how much better the congestion is,” said Project Manager Victor Conover. “The public has been very engaged throughout the process, and it’s a huge relief to know they are happy with our work.”
As a main corridor for a large population that travels from Oconee County to Athens for employment and education at the University of Georgia, South Milledge Road and Whitehall Road experienced heavy traffic. Due to a combination of poor sight distance and a poor intersection lane geometry, sitting in a long line of cars was not an uncommon occurrence for commuters.
To address the traffic and safety concerns while accommodating complex physical constraints, the design centered around an oval-shaped roundabout that would maximize the available right of way and limit impacts to historically sensitive and economic-driving properties.
“In addition to providing a design that would meet the field constraints, steep grades and limited right of way, we needed to keep traffic flowing through construction,” said Conover. “This required our design team to implement a phased construction approach, which was completed in quadrants.”
The project was completed in September of 2019 and was honored at the 2022 Georgia Engineering Awards on March 19, 2022.