Work is underway at South Park Avenue and Taylor Road in Dothan to turn the four-way stop into a roundabout.
Currently, Alabama Power and Dothan Utilities are relocating power and water lines and will begin work to install storm drains in coming weeks.
Public Works Director Charles Metzger said drivers in that area should expect delays due to the construction over the next four to six months.
“People just need to be aware that work’s going on there, and it’ll be a much-needed improvement when it’s completed,” he said. “There will be some inconvenience while the project is underway, but the end result will be that the roundabout will help move traffic much more efficiently.”
Resurfacing will not take place until a few months from now. Metzger said workers will try to keep the roads open as much as possible, but there will be times the intersection will need to be shut down. Drivers will likely be rerouted to Fern Drive, which crosses Taylor.
Problems with the intersection arose when traffic flow in the area increased several years ago. The city opened James Oates Park less than a mile from the intersection in 2017, and closed a popular cut-through, Moore Road, in 2018 due to safety and flooding concerns.
City officials have observed 20 to 30 cars backed up in a single lane at the stop sign at times.
The roundabout project is a joint initiative of the Dothan City and Houston County commissions, who were brought together because of the two county roads that join in the Dothan city limits.
Metzger said the roundabout was chosen because of accident data for roundabouts in high-traffic locations are “way down” compared to two- or four-way stops.
During a vehicle accident analysis of the four-way stop at Whatley Drive and North Shady Lane on Dothan’s west side, it was found that only three accidents had occurred over a three-year period in that location where 12,000 to 15,000 vehicles travel daily. Two were minor accidents, while the third was due to a drunken driver.
Metzger indicated that people in Dothan will start to see more roundabouts.
The Public Works Department is considering constructing a roundabout at Bethlehem and J.B. Chapman roads and another joint venture with the county to install a roundabout at Cottonwood and Saunders/Forrester roads with safety improvement funding from the state.
“We obviously both care about our citizens and want to make our roads safe to travel,” Metzger said. “They’re not a cure-all for anything, but in rural areas and high-speed areas, they make sense.”