A Roundabout, A Princess, and a Rock Pile

Georgia wants to become “The Roundabout State.” You aren’t going to see an official marketing campaign for that. But a decade ago, Georgia’s Department of Transportation issued a new policy. Engineers must now seriously consider a roundabout at every intersection they redesign.

This policy is colliding with centuries-old history in the mountains north of Atlanta. A new roundabout which will circle a legend of a princess, a broken heart, and death.

Georgia was getting ready to install an improved, widened intersection along State Highway 9 in Dahlonega. And there’s a pile of rocks in the middle of the roadway.

This is a Cherokee tribe burial mound. Legend says this is final resting place of Trahlyta the Princess. And her story goes back hundreds of years.

Princess Trahlyta had a suitor, one she didn’t like very much. Like Belle from Beauty and the Beast, she rebuffed her Gaston’s advanced. But real life rarely has Disney endings, and no price rescued her. Trahlyta’s suitor kidnapped her and carried her away to a distant village. He tied her up so she couldn’t run home. He hoped to win over her heart. She died of a broken heart. As life drained from her dying body, she plead to be buried near her home. The rock pile is her final resting place.

Engineers at Georgia DOT really don’t want to mess with history. This is where roundabouts come to the rescue.

A properly-designed roundabout has a big landscaped circle in the middle. By placing the burial mound within that circle, engineers not only avoid the burial mound — they also showcase it.

Top Ten States for Roundabouts

As the love affair with roundabouts continues to bloom in the United States, which places have the most roundabouts? A traffic engineering firm in Portland, Oregon tells Bloomberg the Top 10 states for roundabouts (per licensed driver):

  1. Wisconsin
  2. Alaska
  3. North Dakota
  4. Kansas
  5. Colorado
  6. Washington
  7. Minnesota
  8. North Carolina
  9. Indiana
  10. Montana