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Officials commit to giving public its say on roundabout

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Posted: Friday, January 11, 2019 11:30 am

BEAUFORT — Town commissioners kicked off 2019 discussing the N.C. Department of Transportation’s plans for a Circle Drive roundabout.

Town officials cleared up misconceptions about the proposed roundabout project at their Monday evening workshop at the town hall conference room.

“For the official record, the design for that roundabout is not finished, contrary to what people in town are saying,” said Beaufort Planning and Inspections Director Kyle Garner.  

While the roundabout is spearheaded by NCDOT, town officials have input in the project. They hope to include thoughts and concerns from residents.

Commissioners are concerned about some of the issues Circle Drive is dealing with, including speeding on the south end of the intersection.

“I was surprised because it’s a small, short street,” Commissioner Marianna Hollinshed said. “To me, it doesn’t lend itself to wanting to speed through there.”

Beaufort Police Chief Paul Burdette Jr. said he could direct officers to pay particular attention to the street and keep an eye out for speeding motorists.

Speaking on behalf of those who live in the area, Commissioner Charles McDonald asked if the plans, once created, were subject to change.

“I think that is (residents’) concern,” Mr. McDonald said. “If the design comes from the state, is it final? If it is final, there is no need to talk about what we are talking about here.”

Beaufort Manager John Day reiterated Mr. Garner’s sentiments, saying the plans are not set in stone, yet. Beaufort Mayor Rett Newton agreed.

“As we get further along, we haven’t made those final decisions yet,” Mayor Newton said. “We’re going to have several more looks at this.”

Ms. Hollinshed brought up garbage collection in the area.

Mayor Newton encouraged commissioners, staff and residents to continue gathering ideas to discuss in later meetings.

“This is going to be a repetitive thing until we get the final design,” Mayor Newton said. “When we have those public discussions, I want to hear all of this. I want to do this holistically, because we get one good shot at this. It’s going to be difficult on the community, once this unfolds.”

Commissioner John Hagle suggested the town hold a public hearing on the matter.

“Can we ask DOT, when they are getting close to a final design, that we have some input from the public’s standpoint,” Mr. Hagle asked Mayor Newton.

Mayor Newton told Mr. McDonald and other commissioners that the state ultimately needs input from town officials.

“How are we going to sequence this so that traffic doesn’t become a nightmare” Mayor Newton asked. “There are a lot of things that we don’t know yet.”

The roundabout proposal dates back to 2016. In May 2018, NCDOT representatives, along with the town board, held a joint informational meeting. Its purpose was to gauge resident’s openness to the project.

At that meeting, DOT Engineer Jeff Cabaniss said roundabouts, while not prevalent in the United States, tend to be safer than standard intersections.

“Roundabouts have been shown, in North Carolina, to drop collisions at intersections,” Mr. Cabaniss said at the May meeting.

He later added that roundabouts are cost-effective when looked at long-term.

“Once you build the roundabout, there isn’t a whole lot of maintenance,” Mr. Cabaniss said in the May meeting. “Signals require a lot of maintenance, a lot of updates.”

Contact Dean-Paul Stephens at 252-726-7081, ext. 232; email; or follow on Twitter @DeanPEStephens.

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  • NC-Native-Son posted at 5:25 pm on Mon, Jan 14, 2019.

    NC-Native-Son Posts: 504

    I totally agree with ncjake. The 101-70 intersection is horrible. That needs to be a big roundabout or a regular freeway type interchange because the traffic lights need to go.

    When I was a kid, there use to be more of what we called circle intersections. A few old ones are still around like in Pittsboro. All the old timers know how to navigate them.

  • Vintage Chief posted at 5:32 pm on Sun, Jan 13, 2019.

    Vintage Chief Posts: 9

    Right. I'm not sure if the intersection was designed as such or if the contractor(s) did not follow the design plans. The 'grade' on the South side of the intersection on HWY 101 is, IMO, completely incorrect. The 'slope' has far too much of an incline in far too short of a distance. The 'grade' of the intersection should have been maintained much further to the South with a much more gradual incline. Currently, it's just waiting for a major head-on collision in the North bound and South bound directions - in particular the North bound lane to turn West sits far below grade of the entire intersection. Not the sharpest tools in the shed for certain.

  • ncjake2000 posted at 11:00 am on Sun, Jan 13, 2019.

    ncjake2000 Posts: 34

    Perhaps they will use the same engineering genius who designed the intersection of Hwy 101 and Hwy 70. That pitiful excuse for engineering proves that you don't have to be smart to get a degree.

  • Vintage Chief posted at 9:55 am on Sat, Jan 12, 2019.

    Vintage Chief Posts: 9

    If I'm not mistaken, the Town Of Beaufort injected funding for the initial feasability study for the roundabout. It's my understanding NCDOT is paying the Lion's Share of the work - which will occur alongside raising the road grade and installing new underground culverts where W. Beaufort Rd. meets HWY 101. I'm nearly 99% certain this is already a done deal - the only thing which remains is for the Town Of Beaufort to listen to citizens complain for another year or two while NOTHING gets done.

  • DeadBolt posted at 2:57 pm on Fri, Jan 11, 2019.

    DeadBolt Posts: 2664

    Coming from the 1 town in NC with only 1 gas station, (and if it were a quarter mile east of where it is now, it would be out of city limits,lol).

    Grand idea there , hope you use all them 'quarter's' you got out of the parking fund for this, and all the new paving of the 'dead end' that was hwy 70.

    Simply genus work here from you lot! [wink]

  • mtstosea posted at 2:34 pm on Fri, Jan 11, 2019.

    mtstosea Posts: 50

    How much notice will we have about the meetings involving the roundabout. For over a year I have had my name on the list to be notified about meetings, updates, etc., and have yet to receive an EMail.


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