The Van Wert County Courthouse

Tuesday, May. 30, 2023

County’s first roundabout about to open

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent editor

If all goes as planned, Van Wert County’s first ever roundabout will be open by Friday.

The single lane roundabout is located at the intersection of U.S. 127/U.S. 224/Marsh Road, just north of the Van Wert city limits. Preliminary construction began early this year and the intersection closed to traffic on June 1.

Officials with the Ohio Department of Transportation were at the site on Tuesday and said crews are making final preparations for the roundabout to make it’s debut to traffic, including seeding, mulching, landscaping and pavement striping.

Van Wert Count’s first ever roundabout is nearly complete and should open by Friday. ODOT photo

“We set the plans up with a 60 day closure and the whole intent was to minimize impact to the schools” Dan Niese, ODOT District 1 construction engineer explained. “We wanted schools to be out when we closed it and try to get everything open before they’re back in session. That’s a pretty aggressive schedule for this amount of work in a very tight spot.”

“We had to work through a few utility issues but we’re going to be real close to that 60 day mark and the project overall has been a huge success,” he added.

Temporary left turn restrictions at Mendon Road and U.S. 30, and Boroff Road at 30 will be removed once the roundabout opens. In addition, U.S. 127 over Hagerman Creek, which was closed during the project for deck replacement, will re-open with the roundabout.

The new roundabout is expected to reduce crashes at the intersection. Statistics from around the country show that converting a two-way, stop-controlled intersection to a single lane roundabout can result in a 40 percent reduction in total crashes, a 75 percent reduction in injury crashes and a 90 percent reduction in fatal crashes.

“Statistically speaking, that is a tremendous impact when you think about it and it’s really a no-brainer in our book as to why we would do it,” said Rob White, ODOT District 1 capital programs administrator. “There’s usually a recipe for serious and fatal injury crashes – they typically involve high speeds and they involve head-on or left turn ‘T-bones’ – those are the accidents that people typically do not walk away from and at the end of the day that’s really the simple brilliance of a roundabout.”

“When you think about it, roundabouts have a traffic calming effect,” White continued. “They will slow traffic and when everyone is approaching from the same direction you don’t have that opposing traffic so you virtually eliminate the possibility of high speed head-on crashes. Also, everything is a right turn so you eliminates that left turn ‘T-bone,’”

“The intersection was ranked No. 29 in the state in terms of crash severity, higher than comparative rural intersections with similar traffic volumes,” Chris Hughes, ODOT District 1 deputy director stated. “Roundabouts at locations such as this greatly reduce severe crashes and we expect the same result here.”

The intersection was one of more than 150 statewide that were selected by Governor Mike DeWine for review and safety improvements. The cost was covered by the Ohio Safety Funding Program.

POSTED: 08/02/22 at 9:43 pm. FILED UNDER: News