Thursday, September 4, 2014

New connector bridge eases transportation

The Cobb County Department of Transportation is working on constructing the new Skip Spann Connector bridge to cut down traffic for Kennesaw State students.  The project is aiming to provide a better and safer route to not only Kennesaw State but also Towne Center Mall and other local destinations. "KSU is growing, and Chastain Road becomes maxed out. So the bridge will offer an alternative to going down Chastain." said James Hutchens from the Department of Transportation.

Kennesaw State's 25,000 commuter students no longer have to share the same route bringing motorists from I-75 to U.S. 41, causing a vast amount of congestion in the morning hours. The bridge is a $17.5 million project which according to the Cobb County DOT model will reduce traffic on Chastain Road by 19 percent.

The Skip Spann Connector will be over I-75 north of Chastain Road. The bridge is also a roundabout at Busbee Drive and TownPark Lane. Roundabout have a history of being a safer way to drive. Reduced delay time for vehicles passing means less confusion about four-way stops and also calms down traffic by slowing down the speed limit and directing cars in a little circle to their intended destination. Speeds at roundabouts are generally 25 MPH or lower causing shorter break time and longer decision making time.

"When the South finally adopted roundabouts, Cobb County saw a huge decrease in traffic. Now there are about 5 or 6 roundabouts in the West Cobb area." said James Hutchens "There's no traffic light and everyone moves at slower speeds."

Some commuter students are reticent to the development. " I don't think that they would decrease it because in a roundabout people don't signal or use it properly so people sometimes have no idea where they are going." Said Alyssa Wright, a KSU commuter student from Marietta. "Also, our roundabouts have plants or other things in the center so it makes it more difficult to see, therefore making it more dangerous."

A roundabouts purpose is to be a safe way to direct traffic. In a roundabout, the driver can easily navigate through a roundabout simply by seeing if there is another driver currently in the circle. If there is no car in the circle or the other driver has just moved into the circle, the first driver may pass with quick reaction time. If there is a wreck in a roundabout, the damage will be slim to none. The worst on average is perhaps a fender bender or a dent that is much less dangerous and costly than a crash involving injury or fatality.

According to the Cobb County DOT Website, a 2002 study reflects these facts, reporting a 60% decrease in total crash rates, an 82% reduction in injury crashes, and a 100% reduction in fatality crashes. The roundabout also benefits from lower electricity and maintenance cost that come with traffic lights and also a very unique aesthetic look.

Roundabouts have also been known to be environmentally friendly by reducing air pollution. Because the flow of traffic is improved, fuel consumption and vehicle emissions are also reduced. They are also safer for pedestrians, who have a lot of walking room on sidewalks across the perimeter and cross only one direction of traffic.

More information about roundabouts and the construction process can be found at the Cobb County

website at

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