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Letter: Roundabout wrong for rural intersection


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From: Gary Grieger

Columbus

I have lived at the intersection of County Road 400S and U.S. 31 for 20 years. When Southern Crossing opened with a flashing red light on 400S and a yellow light on 31, the accidents started.

It took the city 17 years to install a stoplight. The light has reduced accidents dramatically.

There is a 55 mph speed limit going across 31 to a small country road. I feel that installing turn lanes on 31 in the north and south lanes and reducing the speed limit to 45 mph on 31 and 400S will reduce accidents further. The intersection at 31/7 and 31/46 are 45 mph, which must work or else INDOT would be looking at roundabouts at those locations as well.

The cost to install new speed limit signs seems to be a much more economical option, rather than spending $1.7 million on a roundabout.

Even though it has been denied, the stoplight control time has been changed, so the traffic is backing up more now than when it was first installed. This change in timing is making the need of a roundabout look necessary to motorists.

I attended the meeting and went away feeling this project was already predetermined. This meeting failed to show us how this new roundabout will help the traffic move smoother and have fewer accidents. We were shown no data concerning the number of accidents since the stoplight had been installed.

Reducing the speed limit to 35 mph approaching the roundabout, and again reducing to 15 mph through the roundabout, will only slow the traffic flow.

You brought up how well these roundabouts work in Carmel. However, this is a rural Elizabethtown location, compared to Carmel, which is more of an urban layout. It would be more convincing if we were to be shown similarly placed roundabouts on high speed state highways.

In order for the residents of Columbus to be convinced, specifically in the area of the proposed roundabout, the following items need to be addressed: additional data regarding accidents, proof of better traffic flow for state highways with roundabouts rather than urban streets similar to Carmel, and finally, more of a realistic roundabout design for this rural area.

At this point in time, this $1.7 million proposed project does not seem to solve any of the issues addressed at the meeting, but rather poses more problems for this intersection.

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