Moving Ahead Spring/Summer 2019

Page 12

Oregon 140 Roundabout

A planned upgrade to an important Jackson County road will also see the construction of the first highway-style roundabout in southern Oregon. Next year, Jackson County will extend Foothill Road north, across Corey Road, and align it with Atlantic Avenue on the north side of Oregon 140. The tie-in to Lake of the Woods Highway, east of White City, will be a roundabout. Its island area is 180 feet in diameter—or half the length of a football field. “This is a project ODOT and Jackson County are doing together,” said Jackson County Roads and Parks Director John Vial. “We’re punching Foothill Road through and ODOT is connecting to the highway with a roundabout.” So why a roundabout and not a traffic signal? “We get a lot of comments about ‘just putting in a signal,’” said ODOT Traffic Standards Engineer Kevin Haas.


May 17, 2019

“But when we make data driven safety decisions and look at the historical data, on average, about half the crashes at signalized intersections involve injuries and fatalities. “And the reason we propose roundabouts is they nearly eliminate all fatal and serious injury crashes.” Federal Highway Administration data support Haas’ statement. It shows roundabouts improve safety by reducing all fatal and serious injury crashes. They also reduce delays and emissions. Roundabout Design In designing a roundabout, engineers install visual clues for drivers so they recognize the change ahead. In addition to signs for the drivers to notice, they design a horizontal curve which will gradually slow traffic, along with the addition of drainage features. Once at the roundabout, traffic has slowed to about 30 MPH. Drivers are required to yield to vehicles in the roundabout before entering it.