Clark County Engineer’s Office addresses concerns about $1.4M roundabout project

Clark County Commissioners agreed to spend $40,000 from the general fund to install flashing lights at intersections near three high school including the intersections of Possum Road and Selma Pike, near Shawnee High School. Bill Lackey/Staff
Clark County Commissioners agreed to spend $40,000 from the general fund to install flashing lights at intersections near three high school including the intersections of Possum Road and Selma Pike, near Shawnee High School. Bill Lackey/Staff

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

The Clark County’s Engineer’s Office has released their responses to concerns about a roundabout project near Shawnee High School.

The county accepted public comments on the project from July until Aug. 31, at which time the public comment period was closed in order for the office to respond.

The roundabout will be at the intersection of Selma Pike and East Possum Road and will include a single-lane roundabout. The total cost of the project is estimated to be about $1.4 million, which will be covered completely through federal funding with the Ohio Department of Transportation.

Here is how the Clark County Engineer’s Office responded to some concerns about the project.

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Question: Why would the Clark County Engineer’s Office want to spend $1.4 million dollars on a roundabout when for much less money a traffic light and solar-type signage would be more practical, safe and much less cost to the taxpayer?

Clark County Engineer’s Office: Neither a traffic signal nor an all-way stop is warranted and cannot be built. Additionally, the difference in cost is not as great as one might expect: both a four-way stop and a signalized intersection would be expected to cost approximately one million dollars each, in part due to the new turn lanes to handle the additional traffic. The benefits of the roundabout with respect to congestion and severe accident reduction outweigh its costs.

Q: Why can’t you construct a four-way stop instead of a roundabout?

EO: The project’s Feasibility Study evaluated an all-way (or four-way) stop as one of the build alternatives for the intersection. Similar to the traffic signal alternative, there is not enough current or projected traffic to satisfy the recommended guidance for installing an all-way stop. Since installing an all-way stop when it is not warranted can lead to more crashes, this option will not be pursued.

Q: Why not just widen the road, to provide two through lanes in each direction?

EO: The existing 2-lane roadways have sufficient capacity to handle the projected traffic volumes, but the current intersection configuration does not. The construction of additional lanes would not address the issue.

Q: Won’t a roundabout just be confusing (particularly to teenage drivers and the elderly) and lead to more accidents?

EO: The roundabout proposed for this location is a single-lane roundabout that provides fewer conflict points than a typical intersection. While it may not be as familiar yet as other forms of traffic control, that does not mean using a roundabout is more complicated. In reality, the single-lane roundabout is one of the simplest forms of traffic control.

Q: How will this project impact the adjacent residential property?

EO: The location of the roundabout as currently planned has been designed to minimize acquisition from the adjacent residential property. This proposed roundabout will have the same or less impact to the residential properties than would installing turn lanes for either a signal or an all-way stop.

Q: Will this project increase traffic?

EO: No, the roundabout will not increase traffic, but it will provide the best level of service to help mitigate the additional traffic due to the new school, as well as traffic associated with expected population growth.

A complete list of public questions and answers can be found on Clark County’s website. (clarkcountyohio.gov)

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