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Confusing to some but praised by experts for safety and efficiency, traffic roundabouts are gradually cropping up in western Sylvania Township.
A second roundabout — circular road intersections where motorists all drive in one direction to their separate exits — will be built this summer near Central Trail Elementary School.
Construction of the roundabout at Mitchaw Road and Sylvania Avenue, just south of the new school and Timberstone Junior High, is set to begin July 8, contingent on obtaining the land by the county engineer.
North of the schools, the intersection at Brint Road and Mitchaw was enhanced with a roundabout in 2010. Roundabouts also are planned for the intersections of Brint and King roads and Sylvania and Centennial roads.
Engineer Keith Earley, whose office is overseeing the $820,000 project, said roundabouts provide drivers with efficient, safer alternatives to traditional four-way intersections governed by stop signs or traffic signals.
He said studies have shown that the circular intersections can reduce traffic accidents by about 40 percent, in part because motorists must slow to 10 to 15 mph as they approach. The circular driving pattern reduces the chance of side-impact collisions too.
A traffic impact study prepared for the new school showed that an additional 720 vehicles will use the intersection on days when the students are in the building.
A traffic count in 2009 estimated that an average of 2,440 vehicles a day traveled on Sylvania west of Mitchaw and the daily traffic count east of the intersection was 4,850 vehicles.
The study recommended improving the intersection with additional turning lanes to accommodate increased traffic.
The Lucas County Commissioners last week gave their approval to the county engineer’s request to acquire land at the intersection from six property owners for temporary or permanent rights-of-way. Land owners will not be assessed additional taxes for the improvement.
The county has received a $401,825 grant from the Ohio Public Works Commission for the project.
The intersection will be closed for traffic during the 45 days that the roundabout is built, with a detour posted using Centennial, Brint, and Kilburn roads.
Carol Contrada, the county commissioners’ president, said the roundabout design’s safety features are essential to meet increased traffic from the new schools as well as other venues such as Pacesetter Park, Centennial Terrace, Olander Park, and Highland Meadows Golf Club.
Contact Mark Reiter at firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6199.