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INDOT Considering Placing Roundabout At Avoca Exit
Updated April 18, 2016 6:59 AM | Filed under: Transportation
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(BEDFORD) - The Indiana Department of Transportation is considering placing a roundabout at the intersection of State Road 37 at the Avoca exit to reduce number of accidents at intersection.

A roundabout is a circular intersection or junction in which road traffic flows almost continuously in one direction around a central island.

INDOT is using roundabouts to replace traditional four-way traffic signals to reduce accidents, traffic delays, fuel consumption, air pollution and construction costs, while improving safety, increasing capacity and enhancing intersection beauty.

Lawrence County Commissioner Dave Flinn along with other officials have some concerns about a roundabout because southbound traffic approaches on a descending grade, making it difficult for heavy trucks and semis to slow down. He would rather see money spent on an interchange - instead of a roundabout.

INDOT Southwest District communications director Jason Tiller says the intersection has been identified as a future roundabout, but no final decision has been made.

In 2007, INDOT installed traffic lights at the Avoca intersection to reduce the number of traffic accidents in the area. A year later, INDOT installed flashers and signs to warn drivers before they reached the intersection. But that didn't reduce the number of crashes at the intersection. From 2004 through 2007, there were 21 crashes at the intersection. In 2015, the number remained the same.

INDOT says roundabouts are becoming a relatively common traffic feature in Indiana, with more than 90 constructed through 2013 by both INDOT and cities and towns. More than a dozen additional roundabouts are currently being planned by INDOT.

How to Drive a Roundabout

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Approach:

  • Slow down and stay in your lane
  • Yield to vehicles already in the roundabout
  • Obey one-way signs at all times
  • Yield to pedestrians and bicycles if there is a crosswalk

Enter:

  • Wait for traffic in the roundabout; it has the right-of-way
  • When traffic clears, merge to the right and continue to stay in your lane

Proceed:

  • Continue through the roundabout until you reach your exit point. Avoid stopping in the roundabout

Exit:

  • Signal and exit to the right
  • Left turns are completed by circling around the center island and then making a right turn to exit
  • Roundabouts can easily accommodate emergency and large-sized vehicles. Drivers should behave in the same manner as they would on any other road if an emergency vehicle approaches: carefully move as far right as possible and, if necessary, stop until the emergency vehicle passes.

Benefits of a Roundabout

Lives saved:

  • Roundabouts reduce the number of potential accident points within an intersection
  • Up to a 90 percent reduction in fatalities
  • 76 percent reduction in injury crashes
  • 30-40 percent reduction in pedestrian crashes
  • 75 percent fewer conflict points than four-way intersections

Slower vehicle speeds:

  • Drivers have more time to judge and react to other cars or pedestrians
  • Advantageous to mature and novice drivers
  • Reduces the severity of crashes
  • Keeps pedestrians safer

Efficient traffic flow:

  • 30-50 percent increase in traffic capacity
  • Improves traffic flow for intersections that handle a high number of left turns
  • Reduces need for turn lanes

Money saved:

  • No signal equipment to install and repair
  • Savings estimated at an average of $5,000 per year in electricity and maintenance costs
  • Service life of a roundabout is 25 years (vs. the 10-year service life of signal equipment)

Community benefits:

  • Traffic calming
  • Aesthetic landscaping
  • Reduces congestion
  • Reduces pollution and fuel use


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