ADAMS TOWNSHIP — At ODOT’s presentation about plans for a roundabout, there seemed to be consensus among attendees that the intersection of Routes 73 and 380 is a problem but less agreement on the transportation agency’s choice of solution.
A roundabout is a circular intersection that requires all entering traffic to yield at entry to circulating traffic. Hence, an entering motorist should look to the left, yield to vehicles already inside the roundabout, and wait for a safe gap in traffic before entering.
Stephanie Roth, P.E. (professional engineer), the project manager who designed the current 73/380 intersection plans, said the location in a rural setting has particular qualities that include a high-speed route that conveys a lot of truck traffic including semi trucks, plus farm equipment.
Those are “all things we had to consider and design for,” said Roth.
As a result, the design calls for mountable islands — mountable “truck aprons” — in the middle that farm equipment can drive on top of. These islands are 3 inches tall and have a sloped curve that a farm equipment tire can easily hop onto, she said.
The roundabout design also has outside truck aprons for semi trucks, and an inside truck apron that goes around the central island, Roth added.
She noted there are a lot of oversize vehicles on the route, and that the roundabout also is designed “for a very, very long semi-truck” and most of their long trailers should be able to navigate the roundabout.
Right now ODOT is moving ahead with a roundabout, she said, but every comment that’s submitted to the agency will be read. The comment window lasts until Feb. 15.
Brianne Hetzel, P.E., District 8 traffic studies engineer, said the primary purpose of the intersection project is safety. Installing a traffic light there in fall 2015 has not helped the crash trend, said Hetzel.
A roundabout was chosen over adding left-turn lanes because a roundabout is regarded as the safer option here, she said.
If left-turn lanes were added to the intersection, there would be 32 conflict points, she said. That compares to a roundabout’s 8 conflict points. Conflict points are where motorists could hit each other.
What OTOT is aiming to do with a roundabout project is to reduce the number of conflict points at the intersection, Hetzel said.
In addition, ODOT’s simulation models show a roundabout at the 73/380 intersection will be more effective than the traffic light in dealing with traffic congestion, said Hetzel.
Carl Hollingsworth attended the public information meeting Thursday held at the Clinton-Massie Middle School on Lebanon Road. He has two businesses at the corner of Routes 73 and 380.
He said there is a traffic problem at the intersection, and thinks ODOT created a bigger problem when it installed the light there.
He offered his suggestion: Add turn lanes in all four directions; keep the traffic light there; reduce the speed limit to 35 mph from the Potluck Nursery and continue that 35 mph limit past the Caesar Creek Flea Market.
Attendee Paul Moke was asked what he thought of the intersection project.
“It’s a little bit less of a footprint than I was afraid it was going to be, but I do think the Renaissance Festival has been a festering traffic problem, getting worse and worse year by year. Last year, for example, just about every weekend the traffic was backed up on Interstate 71 on both of the exits, coming from Columbus and coming from Cincinnati,” said Moke.
He added that traffic of that magnitude will adversely affect “even the new design.”
Moke said he thinks another issue “is just how narrow [State Route] 73 is” given the lack of roadway shoulders in relation to how fast vehicle traffic is going and how much truck traffic there is.
Construction of the roundabout is estimated to start in June 2022, with September 2022 estimated for project completion.
The estimated total cost of the state project is $2,360,000.
Public input can be provided by email to Cody.Havlin@dot.ohio.gov or by postal mail to Cody Havlin, Transportation Engineer, ODOT District 8, 505 South SR 741, Lebanon, OH 45036-9518.
Reach News Journal staff writer Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.