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Project making rounds for final time

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Indiana’s Department of Transportation will present Thursday its final engineering report on a proposed roundabout at U.S. 31 and Southern Crossing.

The project’s third and final public meeting is at 6 p.m. at Clifty Creek Elementary School, 4625 E. County Road 50N.

When the first draft of the plan was presented to the public on Dec. 18, a number of county officials and residents — including Bartholomew County council member Jorge Morales — said they believed state officials already had made up their minds to go ahead with the roundabout.

Morales and others praised the department for the way a second public hearing was handled Feb. 13. Design concerns raised at that hearing have been addressed by state engineers, said transportation department spokesman Harry Maginity.

Those concerns included a need for adequate street lighting, alternate routes, controlling noise from braking semitrailers and aesthetics.

Bartholomew County Commissioners Chairman Carl Lienhoop said the county’s first circular intersection on Brown Street, near Mill Race Center, has left residents with “a bad taste for roundabouts.”

While Maginity admits that is likely true, he said state engineers have attempted to be sensitive to concerns about the designed approaches and safety concerns.

During the last meeting, project engineer Michael Maurovich quoted a 2011 study of 19 rural roundabouts made by the University of Iowa that concluded the circular intersections provide:

  • A 100 percent reduction in fatal crashes
  • A 68 percent reduction in total crashes
  • An 88 percent reduction in injury crashes
  • An 83 percent reduction in angle crashes

The state’s enthusiasm for roundabouts stem from a strong preference by federal and state traffic engineers that’s based not only on reduced injuries and fatalities but also that no driver is forced to stop for a red light when there’s no cross traffic, Maginity said.

The most recent hearings on the U.S. 31 and Southern Crossing roundabout were scheduled at the request of State Rep. Milo Smith (R-Columbus).

If you go

WHAT: Presentation of final engineering report of a proposed roundabout at U.S. 31 South and County Road 400S, on the east side of Southern Crossing

WHEN: 6 p.m. Thursday

WHERE: Clifty Creek Elementary School cafeteria, 4625 E. County Road 50N, Columbus

WHO: Presentation conducted by the Indiana Department of Transportation.

NOTABLE: More information on the roundabout proposal has been posted on the Seymour District page at the INDOT website at

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