With all the talk about roundabouts and road construction on State Route 91 lately, it can be easy to get confused about what's going on. Twinsburg Patch talked with Twinsburg Engineer Amy Mohr to get answers to the most common questions folks ask.
Twinsburg Patch: Is the SR 91 project with roundabouts a "done deal?"
Amy Mohr: I have approval to move forward with the roundabout at the Glenwood intersection, which is Phase I. Before they make the decision about Meadowood Drive, they want to make sure everything is functioning the way they feel is good and get everyone acclimated in the area. We're moving forward on Phase I, which is the Glenwood/SR 91 area.
TP: Will this project require another vote from city council?
AM: It won't require a vote but I've been taking this to council at every stage. The next vote that will be required will be when we award a contract for construction. I've been taking everything to council so they're aware of what's going on and usually ask for a motion of support.
TP: This roundabout is being compared to the one in Green. How similar are they, especially in regards to traffic volume?
AM: Very similar. Green has four different legs that come to the roundabout and one is lighter in traffic. The other three pass more traffic in a nine-hour period than Twinsburg would have. On their state route they will pass more traffic than we would on SR 91, so they're very comparable. With our fourth leg, which is more balanced, we end up with a few hundred more cars in that nine-hour period. If you watch their video, it's very realistic to what Twinsburg would experience.
TP: Has anyone addressed the business owners near the SR 91/Glenwood Drive intersection about this project?
AM: They've received stakeholder letters. was at the public meeting and spoke with people along with the property owner of the dentist's office, but we need to sit down with them in more detail because they'll see the most impact. As we move into construction we'll notify everyone with the traffic plan and how it will work. But everyone in that corridor has received a few letters about what is going on.
TP: Won’t a roundabout make it tough or dangerous for cars pulling out onto Darrow Road?
AM: It won't be any worse than it is now. Your traffic volumes are still the same and you'll still have to wait for a gap, but they will occur.
TP: Many people seem to think widening the road and a left turn lane would be better. Why not build that instead of a roundabout?
AM: In 2008, when we started the review of this, Federal Highway had put out a directive that for safety reasons, when reconstructing a road or intersection, you should examine the use of roundabouts, because studies show they're safer. They reduce the number of fatalities, injury accidents, and statistically the number of accidents at an intersection. We want to make sure we have the safest mode of operation out there.
TP: Would a traffic signal be safer for pedestrians rather than a roundabout?
AM: There are more conflict points for a pedestrian with a traffic signal. People are used to looking both ways at traffic signals or stop signs. In this case, you only look in one direction because there's only one way cars are coming. We put all the safety measures into the roundabout design for pedestrian traffic such as road-splitters, signage and lights. Editor's Note: Splitter islands provide a pedestrian refuge between the inbound and outbound traffic lanes.
TP: How will large vehicles like semi-trucks be able to safely negotiate a roundabout?
AM: It's designed for them. The radius won't be too tight and there's a truck apron in the center if they need it to put those back wheels on and it's designed for that purpose.
TP: If people don’t know how to use roundabouts, won’t it cause more accidents?
AM: A roundabout is an intersection just like any other. If you want to turn left at an intersection, you put yourself in the left lane. If I'm going right, I get in the right lane. Human error is going to be the only wild card out there, and like any roadway, you need to be aware of what others are doing. It's the same set up as any intersection, but it's the newness and uncertainty that causes apprehension. Just like you would any other time, use your signal and pay attention to the other drivers around you.
More State Route 91 coverage:
Coming Soon: How do people most affected feel about this contreversial project?