New Duluth Roundabout Dedicated
Roundabout was designed and built with the goal of providing more connectivity and more options for distributing traffic in downtown Duluth area.
Duluth officials, residents and guests gathered on the lawn of the Glancy Rehabilitation Center and dedicated the new Roundabout as early Thursday morning traffic circled it. Vehicles were stopped briefly for a ribbon-cutting ceremony on the Roundabout itself.
The city later plans to erect a specially commissioned piece of artwork and to landscape the grassy mound in the center of the Roundabout. AGCO has donated funds for the artwork.
The Irvindale Roundabout was designed and built with “the goal of providing more connectivity around the downtown Duluth area and more options for distributing traffic,” Mayor Nancy Harris said. It links McClure Bridge Road, Irvindale Road and West Lawrenceville Street and will eventually connect with the proposed Hospital Connector. “A roundabout was the safest way for these roads to come together,” she said.
Improvements included road resurfacing, drainage and sidewalks. McClure Bridge Road from Pleasant Hill Road to the Roundabout was rebuilt with a new surface, curb and gutter and sidewalks on both sides of the street at a cost of $1.3 million. “It’s now a beautiful road,” Harris said. The Roundabout was built at a cost of $$691,145.
Both parts of the project, which were constructed at the same time, were paid for with SPLOST funds.
The roads leading to it and the Roundabout comprise a gateway to the city through its historic residential district.
The mayor thanked the residents and businesses along the route “for their patience and understanding during construction of this major road project.”
Glancy Rehabilitation Center is located where the roadways converge. Harris introduced Lea Bay, president of Gwinnett Medical Center-Duluth. The center, the former Joan Glancy Hospital, is affiliated with Gwinnett Medical Center, which has campuses in Duluth and Lawrenceville. Glancy was “a key partner in this project,” Harris said.
The Roundabout “provides everyone with a lovely view of our Glancy campus,” Bay said. She commended the mayor and council for their vision and the planning team for providing “such an elegant solution to this heavy traffic situation.”
Glancy employees use the sidewalks to walk during lunch and their breaks and over to GMC-Duluth on Pleasant Hill Road, she said. Bay added she is looking forward to running the Duluth Fall Festival 5K and achieving her personal best on the improved road surfaces.
“As a transportation engineer, I have an appreciation of this amazing project,” said Councilwoman Marsha Bomar. She gave a “shout out” to Duluth Planning Director Glenn Coyne and Melissa Muscato, development and project planner for the city, who “took charge [as project managers] and got it done.”
The city council separated the Hospital Connector from the McClure Bridge Road improvements and Roundabout construction, foregoing a federal grant and using SPLOST funds to make the project happen sooner, Bomar said. “It ties our community together,” she said.
Bomar also recognized the companies and individuals involved, including Steven Gaines and Chris Haggard of Wolverton & Associates, who designed the McClure Bridge Road improvements; Adolfo Guzman and Joe Garland of Clark Patterson Lee, who designed the Irvindale Roundabout; Sean Hart, president, and Scott Appling, project superintendent, of Georgia Development Partners, which performed the construction work on both; and Roundabout arborist David of Arborguard Tree Specialists.
“When the Hospital Connector is completed and all the legs connected to the Roundabout, it’s really going to impress you how the project flows,” Bomar told dedication attendees.
“I’ve seen so many people out walking [on the sidewalks] that I’ve never seen before,” she added. She and her husband Lucien often walk the route, Bomar said. In fact, they walked to the Roundabout dedication from their downtown condo. The councilwoman said she has already run the Duluth Fall Festival 5K course twice – once each way. It’s challenging because there’s a 900-foot difference in elevation between the start and finish. “I’ll meet you on the sidewalk,” she said.