By Taelor Rye
The intersection by the Dodge County Hospital, the site of many accidents and general driving inconveniences, may become a roundabout in the future.
The Eastman City Council voted at its meeting on Monday, September 28 to contact the department of transportation to get the process started. The vote was the result of a majority rule; city council members Bobby Slye, Raymond Mullis, and Milton Johnson voted in favor of developing the roundabout while city council members
Prince Dawson and Buddy Pittman voted against the motion.
The intersection in question has been in discussion for renovation for the past several years, according to Slye. He estimated that the current council has had discussions about it for the past four years and that the previous council even had another four years of discussion before that.
The roundabout is perhaps a more financially feasible option than a red light or a four-way stop, as the state has offered a grant for $300,000.00 to go toward the construction of the roundabout, which the council estimates would cost a total of $450,000.00 or so in addition to potential additional costs such as having engineering research performed or alleviating gas tanks in the area underground. Pittman cited these factors as the reason for his vote against the motion.
Slye was perhaps the biggest proponent of the roundabout, stating many times throughout the conversation that he sees it as a benefit in that it will prevent many accidents similar to those that have happened in the past.
Additionally, Slye stated that, while some people may be intimidated of the idea of a roundabout, they’re simpler to use than what most people think, and people generally fear what they don’t understand. However, with use, citizens will easily understand how a roundabout functions.
Pittman also rebutted that, while traffic at the roundabout may flow more smoothly, the city would still have the issue of traffic leading up to the roundabout, which has been an issue over the years as well.
When Dawson suggested having public hearings before conducting the council’s vote, Johnson responded that doing so is “shifting it onto the community to make the decision that… [the council] has been elected to make.”
Johnson also said that the public can add their input after the council’s decision and that what’s important at this point is to take the initiative to make motion in one direction or the other.
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Cameron Young ran the ball for 24 yards for the final touchdown with only 45 seconds left on the clock. (Photo by Kim Stanley)