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Midland roundabout expected to have long-term positive impact on safety
- The proposed roundabout will improve traffic flow and increase safety.
- The project is a cooperative effort to build a modern traffic safety solution.
- The roundabout will safely accommodate any increased traffic that results from projected economic development.
March 13, 2012 -- The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is proposing a $1.3 million safety improvement and roundabout project in Midland County that is expected to have a long-term positive impact on safety in the area. The project is located in the city of Midland just east of Washington Street along M-20/US-10 Business Route (BR) at the Patrick Road crossover. The roundabout is scheduled for construction in 2014 and will take approximately three to four months to build.
"This is a public infrastructure improvement that will benefit Midland and the motoring public," said MDOT Bay Region Engineer Robert Ranck, Jr. "The proposed roundabout will improve traffic flow through the intersection and increase safety."
Construction of the roundabout is expected to provide better traffic flow through the crossover to Saginaw Street from eastbound and westbound US-10 BR. It also will accommodate increased traffic due to a projected growth in local industries over the next 20 years.
Ranck describes the project as a cooperative effort to build a modern traffic safety solution, supported by MDOT Lansing Geometrics and MDOT Traffic, Safety and Operations experts. Planning is being done in partnership with the Michigan State Police and the city of Midland.
Speed limit studies from 2007 to 2010, taken three years before through three years after a 55-to-70 mph change in the area speed limit, show no change in crashes per year at the intersection.
"A roundabout is a proven, safe and cost-effective solution to accommodate an anticipated increase in traffic flow and eliminate conflict points at this intersection," says Bill Mayhew, MDOT Mt. Pleasant Transportation Service Center manager. "Crash pattern studies rule out speed as a factor in recorded traffic incidents."
The speed limit approaching the roundabout will be 45 mph and will slow to 25 mph for traffic inside. The roundabout will be constructed at a higher elevation and the roadway will be straightened to provide motorists with a clear view as they approach. Warning signs, pavement markings, rumble strips, and flashing beacons will be used to alert motorists to lower speeds as they near the roundabout. Drivers approaching a roundabout must slow down and yield to the traffic already inside.
MDOT engineers considered several alternatives solutions to a roundabout, including: building a ramp to James Savage, which would include bridge replacement at Saginaw Street; extending the freeway section to Bayliss Street; building a tunnel for the crossover; and installing a signal at the intersection. The costs range from an estimated $5 million to $20 million. After a detailed study comparing the intersection's crash history to other statewide locations, experts determined this project is in a high priority to receive safety funding.
Studies by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration confirm the benefits of roundabouts, including:
- a reduction of up to 90 percent in fatalities,
- a 76 percent reduction in injury crashes,
- a 30-to-40 percent reduction in pedestrian crashes,
- fewer conflict points than four-way intersections,
- reduced severity of crashes due to lower speeds,
- an increase of up to 50 percent in traffic efficiency, and
- no signal equipment to install and repair.
"This roundabout is expected to decrease the number of traffic incidents occurring at this intersection by taking away the stop and start actions that cause accidents," said Mayhew. "It also will eliminate anticipated traffic backups by removing the left turn onto Patrick Road."
Other area roundabouts include one on US-127 BR at Mission Road in the city of Clare, and a double roundabout at the I-75/M-81 interchange in Saginaw County.
To view a complete list of Michigan roundabouts or a video that demonstrates the proper use of a roundabout, visit MDOT's Web site at www.michigan.gov/roundabouts.
For more information, contact Bill Mayhew, MDOT Mount Pleasant Transportation Service Center manager, at 989-775-6104, ext. 301.
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