Pictured is a graphic from the Ohio Department of Transportation explaining how to use a roundabout. (Photo via ODOT)
Pictured is a graphic from the Ohio Department of Transportation explaining how to use a roundabout. (Photo via ODOT)

VAN WERT – After a recent public input meeting, it was determined that the Ohio Department of Transportation would suggest a roundabout be built at the intersection of U.S. 127, U.S. 224, and Marsh Road. Roundabouts, said Lori Brinkman, are proven to decrease the severity of accidents. Brinkman is the ODOT District 1 Local Public Agency (LPA) Manager and District Consultant Contracts Administrator.

The intersection of U.S. 127, U.S. 224, and Marsh Road is ranked 29th in the state for highest crashes in a rural intersection.

“The safety benefits that it’s going to offer led do the decision to recommend this option,” said Brinkman of the roundabout option. “Current research we’ve run so far shows it as a marked improvement over what is currently there and the other alternative.”

According to ODOT, studies found that roundabouts typically reduce crashes by 40 to 60 percent and reduce injury by 35 to 80 percent. They almost completely eliminate fatal crashes. This is due to the fact that drivers who enter a roundabout are required to slow down to approximately 15-25 mph.

“It slows traffic down in every direction so if there are accidents, they are usually sideswipes and damage only,” said Brinkman. “Very rarely are they serious injury or fatal.”

Roundabouts are designed to prevent high angle crashes such as “T-bone” accidents and left turn angle crashes, according to ODOT. Studies have proven that roundabouts are much safer than traffic signals; the projected injury crash rate for a roundabout is half that of a traditional traffic signal.

“A roundabout only has eight points of conflict, so there are only eight different times where traffic is entering and exiting with conflict with each other,” added Brinkman. “In a conventional intersection, there are 32 points of conflict. It’s considerably different.”

Roundabouts, like the one proposed for this intersection, can be designed to allow for the passage of large vehicles. Brinkman said this roundabout will be single-lane and will be able to accommodate semis, full-sized combines, and oversized loads.

“We were convinced if we were putting a roundabout in that area, it would be the most simplistic one that is out there,” said Brinkman.

When utilizing a roundabout, drivers should slow down, look left, yield to those already in the roundabout, and keep moving once in the roundabout. Drivers in the roundabout always have the right-of-way.

ODOT plans to have an education process to help residents better understand roundabouts and how to use them.

Brinkman said that with the current plans, the houses located near the intersection will not be directly-affected. Construction is expected to begin in 2022.

Brinkman said she has received many calls from citizens, mostly thankful that something is being done at the intersection. She encourages anyone with questions to contact her via email at Lori.Brinkman@dot.ohio.gov or by phone at 419-999-6864.