Neil Yarrington drove through the new roundabout at Sardis and Ledan roads for the first time Wednesday with a sense of excitement and optimism.
After months of work on the project converting what was previously a four-way stop in northwest Hall County, the newly paved roundabout opened to traffic Wednesday afternoon.
The northwest Hall intersection is a busy crossing near Chestatee High School, Chestatee Academy and Sardis Enrichment School. Yarrington is the principal at Sardis.
“I’m hoping it’ll make our traffic a lot smoother and a lot faster,” Yarrington said.
He imagined the first afternoon of the roundabout being open would create plenty of excitement and talk Thursday morning, both among teachers and in the carpool line.
“I can’t wait to hear what they say,” Yarrington said.
Work on the inner portion of the roundabout will require the intersection to be closed on two upcoming Saturdays, county engineer Kevin McInturff said. The county will announce those dates when they are determined.
Yarrington particularly thinks the roundabout will help congestion in the mornings.
“I’m very thankful to the commissioners for doing it,” the principal said.
The county originally announced July 19 that it was closing the intersection July 31 until at least mid-September for construction. A day later, the county reversed course and announced the road would remain open during the day so work wouldn’t disrupt school traffic.
“After evaluating all options, we have worked with the contractor to make sure two lanes of traffic remain open throughout the construction project,” Hall County Commissioner Billy Powell said at the time.
Keeping the intersection open during the day meant the county had to pay an extra $50,000 to E.R. Snell Contractor.
The contract completion date is Oct. 20, and McInturff said the project appears to be on track for that target.
The roundabout is being built to ease congestion at the key crossroad until a much larger project — the Sardis Road Connector — can be built. The connector would run between Dawsonville Highway/Ga. 53 and Thompson Bridge Road/Ga. 60.