A recently installed traffic circle at the intersection of Bald Ridge Marina Road and Bald Ridge Acres Drive has raised a lot of questions for Forsyth County residents and one of their commissioners.
District 5 Commissioner Laura Semanson said this week the plans were tied to a development on Bald Ridge Acres, which was zoned by the city of Cumming.
She said the installation and a traffic study on the property was done by a developer, though the county did have to approve plans as they encroached on county right of way.
“When that project was approved by the city, they required that the developer put in a roundabout at that intersection,” Semanson said. “That was a requirement by the city, even though it involves a county right of way and it was actually executed by a contractor on behalf of the developer.”
‘A lot of people are obviously upset because, one, we haven’t really come to accept roundabouts quite like some communities have, here in Forsyth County.’Laura Semanson, Commissioner, District 5
Scott Morgan, Cumming’s director of planning and zoning, said the roundabout was not a city condition and said it was proposed by the county’s engineering department.
Since the installation, residents have voiced concerns for the roundabout, particularly the smaller size of the roadway, issues for vehicles hauling trailers for boats and other items and the proximity to the red light at the intersection of Bald Ridge Marina Road and the entrance to Costco.
“A lot of people are obviously upset because, one, we haven’t really come to accept roundabouts quite like some communities have, here in Forsyth County,” Semanson said. “It’s not really built in a way that enhances continuous flow.
“Usually the idea of having the roundabout is to maintain continuous flow. It usually is in the place of a signalized intersection.”
The roundabout is designed to be driven over without damaging vehicles or trailers.
Semanson said the county doesn’t typically allow stop signs or other traffic devices near traffic signals.
Work isn’t done yet at the traffic circle.
Final pavement markings and a pedestrian signal replacement should be done in the next two weeks.
The county’s engineering department provided the Forsyth County News a 2016 traffic study done by engineering firm Kimley-Horn and Associates Inc.
The study looked at what could be done on Bald Ridge Marina Road, the Costco entrance and Bald Ridge Acres Drive and analyzed two alternatives: A “mini-roundabout” or a “5-legged intersection” involving realigning Bald Ridge Acres Drive.
The study recommended the traffic circle.
The development tied to the roundabout is for a 261 townhome units to go on 20 acres on Bald Ridge Acres Drive and behind Costco.
The plans were approved by the Cumming City Council in July 2016.
Residents already living on Bald Ridge Acres Drive voiced issues with the plan.
The property, along with the land that would eventually be developed for the store and another tract of about 20 acres, was annexed by the city and rezoned to multiple use district (MU) in 2010.