Follow The Republic:
State highway planners are considering installing a roundabout at the intersection of State Roads 46 and 9, east of Columbus and south of Hope.
If approved, it would represent Bartholomew County’s third roundabout. Columbus has one roundabout near Mill Race Park. A second is planned at the intersection of U.S. 31 and County Road 400S, heading into Southern Crossing.
The roundabout near Hope was proposed by the Indiana Department of Transportation, said Dan Pearcy, project manager for INDOT’s Seymour District. Intersection improvements are determined by traffic count and accident histories, he added, and INDOT likes for intersection improvements involving state roads to consider roundabouts.
“We found that they decrease the chance and severity of accidents. It improves the start and stop emissions. ...Plus, it maintains a better movement of traffic; you don’t stop. And, you don’t expose yourself at 90 degrees to another car,” Pearcy said.
Roundabouts also save wear and tear on roads caused by the starting and stopping of vehicles, because roundabouts only slow vehicles, Pearcy said.
The proposed roundabout would have a rounded curb that would allow the wheels of wide-load vehicles to run over it, if necessary, when turning, Pearcy said.
Construction of the State Roads 46 and 9 roundabout likely would not start until early 2017, if it is approved. And, neither Columbus nor Bartholomew County would pay any of the cost because it involves only state roads, Pearcy said. Because the project is in its infancy and costs are only estimates, INDOT doesn’t release those estimates, said Glenda Seal, customer service director of the Seymour District.
The roundabout project is not definite, Pearcy said, because several things must happen before it receives approval. An environmental impact study would be necessary to see if acquiring right of way would be necessary, and a traffic analysis would be needed. Also, a public meeting would be needed to get feedback. A public hearing would be required if the project involved acquiring right of way.
Columbus’ downtown roundabout, which intersects 11th, Brown and Lindsey streets and connects traffic to Indianapolis Road, opened in September 2008 and has received mixed reviews from the public about its use and cost. That roundabout cost $1.5 million to build. It was revamped late last year at a cost of $315,000 to alleviate traffic backups of 20 to 25 cars.
In 2010, Columbus’ thoroughfare plan considered 15 locations for roundabouts in the preliminary version, but they were removed before the plan was approved. City planners, though, said roundabouts could be built in the city if local officials determined they were suitable for certain areas.
The roundabout at U.S. 31 and County Road 400S is up to five years away from completion. That intersection had 21 crashes from 2007 to 2009 that resulted in seven injuries, and the intersection has ranked among the top 5 percent of state highway intersections for collisions resulting in serious injury, according to INDOT.
Crash figures were not available for the downtown roundabout or the State Roads 46 and 9 intersection.
Think your friends should see this? Share it with them!
All content copyright ©2013 The Republic, a division of Home News Enterprises unless otherwise noted.