The department recently hired a contractor to begin the initial planning for a new roundabout at the intersection at State Route 68 and State Route 235 between Xenia and Yellow Springs.
The project is estimated to cost $2 million and construction is slated to begin in spring of 2023 and completed by fall of that year, according to Arnold. Funds will come from the state’s Highway Safety Improvement Program.
The department will begin holding public meetings in early 2021 to invite comments and questions before design is scheduled to begin in summer of that year.
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“There’s lots of different treatments out there that we try to use to reduce crashes,” Arnold said. “But there’s only a handful of them that have demonstrated and (are) proven to reduce crashes, and roundabouts are one of those measures in that elite category.”
There are more than 200 roundabouts in Ohio and Arnold said that number will grow over the next decade.
An extensive safety study was completed by the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration in 2017 that reported roundabouts reduced severe crashes by 82% compared to two-way, stop-controlled intersections. When compared to an intersection using stop-light signals, roundabouts reduced crashes by 78%.
“It is different,” Arnold said. “It’s not what you’re used to as a driver and if there’s not one in your area, you’re having to develop new habits. … You come to a roundabout and it’s all new to you and that can be frustrating.”
Arnold’s experience of drivers navigating their community’s first-ever roundabout, like those in Xenia, usually ends with happy residents, regardless of initial concerns.
Despite any initial concerns or learning curves, Arnold said drivers navigating their community’s first-ever roundabout, like those in Xenia, typically end up having a good experience. The department has not received any complaints from Xenia residents regarding its first roundabout.
“It (roundabouts) doesn’t fit everywhere, but it’s definitely a tool we’re using to improve safety,” Arnold said.