Rockdale looks at new plan for intersection

CONYERS — Rockdale County has shifted gears on plans for improvements to a five-way intersection at Klondike, McDaniel Mill and Hurt roads. New design plans could include a signalized intersection or a roundabout.

According to Miguel Valentine, director of Rockdale’s Transportation Department, the county originally planned to widen the intersection and add turn lanes and a traffic signal when warranted. However, during the design phase, the county determined that the proposed plan could not meet Georgia Department of Transportation design requirements within the available right of way. Valentine said acquiring the needed right of way to meet DOT requirements would have been cost-prohibitive.

“It was estimated that right of way acquisition cost could have gone up to as much as $1.5 million in order for the road alignment to meet the required design criteria,” Valentine said in an email response to questions about the intersection project.

As a result, Valentine said the decision was made to look at the “feasiblity of realigning Klondike Road so that it would intercept McDaniel Mill Road at a point south of the existing five-legged intersection. In essence we would remove two of the legs (Klondike Road) from the existing intersection and leave the existing Hurst/McDaniel Mill intersection at its present location, with some geometric improvements.”

Rockdale County Commissioners will be asked at their regular meeting Tuesday to consider a contract with Presnell Associates Inc. for design services for the project. The contract calls for a change order of $46,420 and a time extension until Dec. 30, 2014.

Valentine explained the need for the change order and extension at the county’s work session on Aug. 6.

“This is so the designer can develop — rather than just a straight intersection design — develop a roundabout design for that intersection so if there is a situation where we do not get a signal permit, we can still move the project forward,” Valentine said.

The total design contract cost for the project is $300,746.

“This design has been ongoing since the mid-90s,” Valentine told commissioners, “and a lot of that funding was to develop the design at the previous location, so this is at a new location further down the street and a totally new alignment with a roundabout. This is to complete the design, not just to do the roundabout.”

Valentine said a final cost estimate on the project won’t be determined until the final roadway alignment is selected.