Tuesday, May 21, 2024

The Rise of Roundabouts in Northwest Ohio

Round and Round We Go

Photo by Stephan H. on Unsplash

There has been a round of changes at intersections throughout Northwest Ohio over the past few years as a number of intersections have been fitted with roundabouts. The circular intersections have seen a steady rise in construction in recent years, with more to come.

Going round(about)
The first roundabout was introduced to Northwest Ohio at the King Road and Nebraska Avenue intersection in Springfield Township in 2009. This was followed by another at the intersection of Brint and Mitchaw Roads in Sylvania Township the following year. Since then, a total of 28 other roundabouts have been built in Lucas and Wood counties, with 21 more planned through 2024, according to the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments (TMACOG).

Roundabouts provide substantial safety and operational benefits compared to other intersection types, most notably a reduction in severe crashes,” said Rebecca Dangelo, public information officer for ODOT.  “[Roundabouts] are an effective option for managing speed and transitioning traffic from high-speed to low-speed environments, such as freeway interchange ramps and rural intersections on high-speed roads.”

Safety: the numbers
Years of studies by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) found that the installation of roundabouts resulted in 44% fewer crashes and 70%-90% fewer fatalities when the circular devices replaced a two-way stop sign intersection. Additionally, there are 48% fewer injury crashes and 60%-80% fewer fatal crashes when a roundabout replaces a signalized intersection. 

“As more roundabouts have been installed in Lucas County, our citizens have seen the safety and capacity benefits associated with roundabouts,” said Mike Pinewski, P.E., P.S., Lucas County Engineer. “We believe the public opinion of roundabouts in the Northwest Ohio region has shifted to be in favor of roundabouts, since the office started considering them in 2005. Our highest priority is to develop projects that improve the safety of roadways for the travelling public,” he added.

Roundabout Cost
The price tag of building roundabouts varies with each project. The final cost of the roundabout at Albon Road and Salisbury Road was just under $700,000. Dangelo said that funding comes from different sources and “pots” of money from local, state and federal governments. The upfront cost to build one is actually more than a signalized intersection, but the operational costs end up being less in the long-run.

“Once a roundabout is installed, the only maintenance is landscaping of the center island, whereas traffic signals have power, signal heads, and cabinets that need to be maintained and upgraded as years pass,” explained Dangelo.

Once construction begins for a roundabout, it generally takes about 45 days to finish, according to Pinewski. “The goal is to construct the roundabouts during summer months to minimize disruption of traffic associated with schools and to work within the Ohio construction season,” he said. While there are no plans for any roundabouts this summer, Pinewski says several are planned for 2022. To limit confusion for drivers, signage will be posted ahead of scheduled construction,  to allow ample time to find alternative routes.

To learn more, contact the Lucas County Engineer’s Office at 419-213-2860, or the Ohio Department of Transportation at 419-867-0314.

Intersections with plans for roundabouts in 2022:

  1. Monclova Rd & Weckerly Rd Intersection
  2. SR-295 (Berkey Southern Rd) & Neapolis-Waterville Rd Intersection
  3. Brint Rd & Kilburn Rd Intersection
  4. Angola Rd & King Rd Intersection

 

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