The Monument Square roundabout in Urbana will undergo a nearly $2 million construction project in an effort to make the intersection safer for drivers and pedestrians.
Nearly 25,000 cars pass through the intersection every day.
Urbana City Engineer Tyler Bumbalough said construction on the roundabout will likely start near the end of April or early May and several new features will be added, including a truck apron and curbing for increased maneuverability.
Right now, there are no structural barriers in the roundabout. Bumbalough said over the course of a three-year study, there were around 60 accidents in the roundabout.
EARLIER COVERAGE: Urbana making plans to improve roundabout
“Speed limits are great. Yellow paint is great, but they really don’t slow down all of the traffic,” he said.
Carmazzi’s General Store and Cafe Paradiso owner, Patricia Thackery said speed in the intersection is definitely a big problem — and so is trying to cross the street.
“It’s too busy — too many things to look for, and sometimes the pedestrian is the one who doesn’t get seen,” she said.
Bumbalough said the new plan for the roundabout addresses that problem too.
He said flashers will be added to the crosswalks to better signal drivers when someone wants to cross the street. There will also be center splitter islands in the middle of the street so someone can stop there if necessary to finish crossing the street safely.
In some circumstances, the crosswalks will be shortened, so that pedestrians will begin to cross the street in front of parked cars, where previously the pedestrians may have been hidden from view.
Bumbalough said the project will be completed in five phases.
The first phase will construct the center truck apron in the intersection. The remaining phases will consist of water main improvements and construction on the roundabout, one leg at a time.
Bumbalough said those affected by water main replacement work should experience no more than half a day of water loss.
During the street closures, pedestrians will still be able to access downtown businesses.
Some parking in Monument Square may be restricted, but the City of Urbana said that at least two out of four parking quadrants will be open at all times.
Thackery said she’s on board with the idea — and the resulting construction — if it means a safer intersection for her and her customers.
“I think we can put up with a little bit of inconvenience especially the way they’re addressing it,” she said.
Before construction begins, closure and detour signs will be posted.
Funding for the project comes from an Ohio Department of Transportation Safety Grant, an ODOT Small Cities Grant, an ODOT Urban Resurfacing Grant and funds from the Ohio Public Works Commission for water main replacements.
The project is scheduled to be completed by October 31.