GRANGER TWP.: An informational meeting about a roundabout proposed for the intersection of Granger and Ridge roads drew about 50 people Wednesday evening.
The roundabout idea is in response to safety concerns at the intersection, said Julie Cichello, traffic planning engineer for the Ohio Department of Transportation District 3, who led the meeting at Highland Public Library.
There were 18 reported collisions at the site from 2008-2011, according to ODOT.
In general, statistics suggest roundabouts reduce the number of fatal accidents by 89 percent, the number of accidents involving injuries by 76 percent and the total number of crashes by 35 percent.
Experts say roundabouts work especially well in reducing the more serious crashes because traffic is forced to slow down. Also, the number of possible “conflict points” at an intersection is reduced from 32 to eight, with most accidents that do occur becoming less dangerous side swipes.
Currently, about 9,000 vehicles pass through the Granger-Ridge intersection per day. A roundabout can handle up to 25,000 per day, ODOT said.
Construction of a 144-foot diameter circle is planned for 2016, most likely during the summer so that school traffic is not affected.
By comparison, the circle would be about half the diameter of the roundabout in nearby Sharon Center.
There would be no stop signs — only yield signs — at the approaches.
The roundabout would cost about $2.5 million, a bill being picked up by an already approved federal grant.
Cichello said not enough cars use the intersection to qualify it for a four-way stop or traffic signal, so the only options are a roundabout or to do nothing.
Intersections with high crash rates and a high left-turn volume are perfect for a roundabout, and the Granger-Ridge intersection qualifies, she said.
ODOT said nearly 4 acres of land would need to be acquired from among 15 property owners. Ohio Edison owns the largest parcel being sought: about 1.5 acres on the northwest corner.
Many of those attending the ODOT meeting were property owners affected by the roundabout. They expressed concerns that included loss of property value, noise, and lights shining in their windows.
They were given comment sheets to return by July 3 and told their comments would be considered in making a final decision as whether or not to proceed with the project.