Diamond Causeway roundabout proposal unpopular with residents - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Diamond Causeway roundabout proposal unpopular with residents

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)

Changes are coming to a main intersection on Skidaway Island, and a lot of drivers there are not happy about it.

Chatham County officials are proposing putting a roundabout at the intersection of Diamond Causeway and McWhorter Drive/Green Island Road near The Landings.

The county invited the public to a meeting Tuesday to show them the plans. And you didn't have to be in there long to realize it was a crowd full of opinions.

"I think it's the stupidest thing in the world and the biggest waste of money I've ever heard of,” said Bunny Ludtke, Skidaway Island resident.

Out of the entire crowd that showed up Tuesday, WTOC could only find two people that did not agree with Ludtke.

The county is looking to make the current four-way stop intersection more efficient and safer after numerous accidents there in recent years. There were enough opinions in the room that the tables ran out of comment cards, but the county engineer says they're opinion is safety first.

"That is what we do, that is what we're going to do, and making it such that we can reduce as many fatalities as we can on the driving roads,” said Chatham County Engineer Leon Davenport.

But some residents worry that a roundabout may do the opposite.

"It's a unique intersection because of the way people travel here,” said Dan Malachuk, Skidaway Island resident. 

Unique, he said, because of the number of people who ride golf carts around here. He's disappointed the traffic engineer did not consider just how many of them go through that intersection.

"Because the design they showed me, that looked like a suicide sluice for someone crossing on a golf cart, and they don't even have that count figured out. They ought to get that data before they propose that kind of solution,” said Malachuk.

Some residents suggested rumble strips or a traffic signal as a better solution. And though the roundabout would cost around $1.5 million - roughly six times more than a stop light - the county's research shows it's still the best option.

"Again, we're looking at long-term cost and long-term safety. It's not just about that energy cost, it's about lost time for people sitting in traffic, it's about accidents that occur, fatalities that occur. There are a lot of costs more than just what it takes to turn on the lights,” said Davenport.

The proposed design is still in the concept phase, but once construction gets started, the county anticipates it to last roughly 10 to 12 months.

Before they go any further, though, the county engineer said they're going to consider all the feedback they got Tuesday night first.

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